Governor’s lockdown to slow outbreak in Gallup expires

May 10, 2020 GMT

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A governor-ordered lockdown designed to combat a surging coronavirus outbreak in the western New Mexico city of Gallup expired Sunday, but the city’s mayor said the problem persists.

“Our numbers are still getting higher and higher on a daily basis,” said Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi, who has called the COVID-19 outbreak a “crisis of the highest order.”

Bonaguidi also told CNN in a brief interview that city officials likely will now ask every Gallup resident to wear a mask when they go outside.

“We’re doing everything we can to get these numbers down,” the mayor said.

Bonaguidi didn’t immediately return a call Sunday from The Associated Press seeking further comment.

Gallup is in McKinley County, which has just 3.5% of New Mexico’s population but had nearly one-third of the state’s 4,863 coronavirus cases as of Sunday and one-fifth of the 200 known deaths.

The city is one of the largest communities bordering the Navajo Nation, which had 2,973 positive coronavirus cases as of Saturday with 98 reported deaths. The vast reservation is the nation’s largest with 175,000 people and extends into part of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act on May 1, sealing off all roads to nonessential traffic in Gallup.

She also required that businesses in Gallup close from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the city of nearly 22,000 people about 100 miles (160 kilometres) west of Albuquerque. Interstate 40 remained open to through traffic, however.

The Navajo Nation also has imposed evening and weekend curfews on the reservation for several weeks now.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Albuquerque TV station KOB reported New Mexico could receive its first shipment of the antiviral medication Remdesivir on Monday to hopefully help speed up the recovery process in coronavirus patients.

Democratic state Sen. Martin Heinrich, in partnership with the University of New Mexico Hospital and state health department, have been working for several weeks to secure the medication.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the investigational drug to be used in the treatment of COVID-19 earlier this month.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.