KUNM

YNMG & COVID: A Test You Can't Study For

May 13, 2020

 

As Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham eases restrictions in New Mexico starting Saturday, we talk about the factors that signal when and how to reopen the country: testing, contact tracing, modeling, antibody tests and treatment. In episode 61, we hear about test expansion and antibody test development, a new treatment involving plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, and what it's like to be sick with the virus. 

We hear from David Morgan, spokesperson with the New Mexico Department of Health, about expanding free COVID-19 testing to anyone in the state, and says residency is the only thing people are asked to show--not citizenship. He tells us about the testing process from nose to results, the challenges of contact tracing, and says we've seen cases here where someone had the virus but didn't show symptoms.

Dr. David Grenache, TriCore chief scientific officer and president-elect of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry tells us about the development of COVID-19 antibody tests, and the importance of social distancing no matter what the results of an antibody test. Since we don't know whether having antibodies means a person is immune, he tells us, it's hard to say what those tests mean for individuals yet.

Catherine Delaney, a physicians assistant and recovered COVID patient explains what it was like to be infected with COVID-19, the rocky road to recovery, and questions around immunity after having the virus. She explains the range of symptoms she, family members and her patients have experienced.

Julia Goldberg, journalist with the Santa Fe Reporter, talks about how New Mexico is modeling the spread of coronavirus and how these models can be used to help policymakers create more effective public health orders. She emphasizes the importance of collaboration between scientists and the public to help curb the virus spread.

Daniella Disci, assistant manager with BPL Plasma tells us how people who recovered from coronavirus can donate plasma to help develop a treatment to fight the infection.

And a news update

Stay at home restrictions will be relaxed this weekend, allowing some public stores to reopen with limited capacity. Starting Saturday,  retailers around the state can reopen and allow customers in at one-quarter of their store’s capacity. Places of worship are allowed 10 percent capacity and big-box stores will remain at 20 percent. People are still encouraged to stay home, and when they have to go out, to keep a 6-foot distance from one another, and we'll be required to wear a mask in public.

But the Northwestern part of the state, which is still coping with a high rate of infection, will remain shutdown. The Navajo Nation extended emergency measures through June 7.

Officials reported 12 deaths today—and this is the second time since the pandemic began that we’ve seen that high a number in a single day. The death toll is 231. There are 155 new confirmed cases, making the state’s total 5,364.

Inside the Otero County ICE detention center in Chaparral, N.M., there are 30 cases of people being held there who are confirmed to have the virus, according to a news release from the state. The news comes against a backdrop of longstanding allegations of overcrowding, abuse and medical neglect there. Physicians around the country have warned of rapid spread in ICE facilities and dire consequences—including that regional hospitals would become overwhelmed. 

People inside the Cibola prison near Grants had to sign a waiver releasing the private company that runs the prison from liability before receiving masks, sources told reporter Jeff Proctor for the Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico In Depth. Core Civic, the private company that runs the prison, said it wasn’t a waiver but an acknowledgment form and that they rolled back that policy for unspecified reasons. 

 

 

We're keeping a complete list of the resources and volunteer opportunities that we find for each episode at bit.ly/YNMGhub. And here's what we got from today.

  • To get in info on the American Association for Clinical Chemistry head to: www.aacc.org.

    They have videos that explain coronavirus and antibody testing.

  • Learn more about Tricore here.

  • Read Julia Goldberg's article "Model Citizens" at the Santa Fe Reporter

  • Head to nmhealth.org to learn more about the testing offered to everyone in the state.

How are things going for you? We want to know. Share your quarantine stories by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.

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Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund.