Los Alamos County Council Chair Scott provided updates Sunday morning regarding the County’s policies for limiting the impact of COVID-19.
“The community has done an amazing job of taking required actions, recommendations, and caring behaviors to heart; we are making a difference,” said Scott, “However, public health concerns continue to evolve as does the context for how our community is and will be affected, including school closures and the return of community members from college and travel.”
Scott said that, given these considerations and with a careful eye toward being prudent and proactive, the following additional steps will be taken by Los Alamos County, as outlined below:
Additional closures of frequently used public historic and recreational facilities.
County Manager Harry Burgess said that Community Services staff will be working today on implementing closure plans for the following facilities, which will take effect tomorrow (Monday, March 16):
Both public libraries, the Aquatic Center, Fuller Lodge, History Museum, Teen Center, both Youth Activity Centers, the Nature Center, Golf Course pro shop, and Fuller Lodge Art Center; all programs, classes and activities in those facilities are cancelled. The two senior centers will be closed with all programs cancelled but home meal deliveries will continue. Also, lunch meals will be provided via drive through as was implemented on Friday. The Senior Center will still provide transportation to medical appointments and delivery items such as prescriptions. Individuals should contact the Senior Center directly for these services.
Additionally, the two Visitor Centers in Los Alamos and White Rock, as well as the National Park’s Manhattan Project National Historical Park Visitor Center, located in the Community Building, will all be closed beginning Monday.
Burgess said the closures will be in alignment with the Schools closures, which remain in place until April 6, unless otherwise modified.
Burgess further stated that Community Services staff and those organizations under contract to operate certain County facilities, such as the Nature Center and Fuller Lodge Art Center, would still be at work this week. “I’ve asked our Staff and contractors to use this time to do some deep cleaning within each facility, as well as consider creative options to provide alternative programming or delivery of services,” he said.
Ask local organizations, even those exempt from Governor Lujan’s list, to discontinue meetings and other programming as health care professionals continue to monitor the progression of the pandemic.
Emphasize to the community the importance of self-isolation efforts in compliance with those provided in the NM Department of Health Website (cv.nmhealth.org); the County urges anyone returning from out of state to read and follow these guidelines. In particular, “that individuals who have traveled outside of the state be in self-isolation for a period of 14 calendar days.” The County will continue public outreach encouraging the community to review these and other recommendations on the CDC website, which is frequently updated.
Scott reiterated the State Department of Health’s message that any individual who thinks they may have been infected with the Coronavirus should call the Coronavirus emergency hotline at 855-600-3453 rather than going into a clinic or doctor’s office.
“This is very important,” Scott said, “Not only is there a concern about infecting other patients, but about keeping our care providers available to address the needs of the community.”
Burgess agreed with Scott and urged the community to be vigilant with good hygiene and voluntary compliance to stay home and avoid large gatherings.
“Practice social distancing of six feet, cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough, and don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even if you don’t agree with the directives and feel healthy, others in our community such as the elderly are at high risk and we need to keep that in mind.”
Although community facilities are closing, Burgess said that parks and trails will remain open.
“For now, our public parks and trails are still accessible,” Burgess said, noting that County crews will be diligent in making sure that facilities in those areas, such as public restrooms, are kept clean, along with frequent trash pick-up.
In addition, Atomic City Transit buses will continue to provide public transit and Dial-A-Ride services without further reduction in services at this time. ACT suspended express routes last week – these routes primarily served the after-school population on weekdays – and the change was made in alignment with School closures. However, Burgess said bus service may be re-evaluated in the future with the potential for further adjustments to be made.
“We encourage individuals who need to transact business with the County to do so by phone or using on-line services,” he said, adding that the County would continue to actively monitor the situation and County services this week, and that further adjustments may be forthcoming as appropriate.
Scott said that Burgess and his staff will continue to provide more detailed operational information as spread of the Coronavirus is a rapidly evolving situation. She encouraged residents to review information posted by the County using the new “quick link” on its website (https://www.losalamosnm.us/).
“This quick link provides links to county, state and national information,” Scott said. “In addition, the County Manager will continue to publish updates as the situation evolves.”
Scott asked the community to pull together during this time of national crisis.
“I know that every company and organization is doing their best to manage this situation and take steps to reduce exposure in a variety of ways. These further closures of public facilities may be difficult for our residents, but I feel that they are necessary and prudent in light of the current situation,” she said.
”This is the time where our community has and will need to continue to show how much we care for each other including reaching out to those who might need additional assistance,” she said. “With patience and understanding, I have every confidence that we can continue to work together and help reduce the impact of COVID-19. Again, don’t forget to take care of yourselves, stay connected, take a walk outside, and show extra kindness – we’re Los Alamos!”