COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, 95.5 percent of Los Alamos County residents have completed their COVID-19 vaccine primary series. However, Los Alamos County officials remind the community that the COVID-19 virus has not disappeared, but continues to mutate and change in ways allowing community transmission to occur despite vaccine availability and a high prevalence of prior infections. Highly transmissible variants of the Omicron variant continue to spread globally, and the US, including New Mexico and Los Alamos County, are now undergoing yet another wave of infections following the recent January 2022 surge. The New Mexico Department of Heath website at https://cv.nmhealth.org. identifies a number of tools available to protect individuals, families, and the community:
- Vaccines and Boosters
- Masking and social distancing
Additionally, Los Alamos County issues a newsletter with contributions from Will Athas PhD, a retired UNM epidemiologist, who examines county-specific COVID-19 data each week. To read the latest newsletters and to subscribe visit https://lacnm.com/subscribe.
Vaccines and Boosters
COVID-19 vaccines and boosters continue to be highly effective in protecting individuals from becoming severely ill and requiring hospitalization. Health officials recommend that vaccine-eligible individuals should stay up to date with vaccination, which now includes both primary and booster shots. In Los Alamos, there are several places to make an appointment, including the Los Alamos Public Health Office, Nambe Drugs, Medical Associates of Northern New Mexico, and Smith’s Pharmacies in Los Alamos and White Rock. While the State of New Mexico picks up the cost of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, the vaccinating organization may still charge an administrative fee to absorb the expense of administering paperwork.
For homebound individuals, the Los Alamos Fire Department will travel to the individual and administer the vaccine or booster at their home. These appointments can be scheduled through the County’s Social Services Department at 505.662.8068. Individuals can also visit the New Mexico Department of Health website at https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/ for additional locations and options throughout New Mexico.
While Los Alamos County does not have any future vaccine clinics planned, officials would like to thank Trinity Urgent Care, Nambe Drugs, Los Alamos Public Schools and the scores of community volunteers who assisted in administering vaccines and boosters at more than 35 clinics throughout the pandemic.
Testing for COVID continues to be critical in reducing spread of the disease. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested immediately, according to the CDC.
For individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, the CDC recommends a test be administered five days after the exposure. During this time, if the individual is not exhibiting symptoms, wearing an N95 or KN95 facemask and keeping a sufficient distance from others will assist in keeping friends and family safe until a negative test result is obtained.
No charge to the individual PCR testing is available through Curative (Curative.com) on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Mari Mac parking lot at 759 Central Ave. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and through Pathology Consultants of New Mexico (PCNM.com) Monday through Friday at Overlook Park in the parking lot south of Overlook Rd. in White Rock from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Results are typically provided within 24 to 48 hours after the test via email or text message.
Additionally, residents can purchase at-home rapid tests at both Smith’s stores and Nambe Drugs, with results in 15 minutes after completing the test. Another alternative for community members is to order free tests from the Federal government at COVIDtests.gov.
To allow health officials to best track COVID-19, individuals using at-home rapid test should report COVID-19 positive results at the State of New Mexico’s web portal https://covid-positive-home-test.doh.nm.gov/s/.
If positive – Isolate
Individuals who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate regardless of their vaccination status.
For a family member who has tested positive, the CDC suggests that the individual should separate him or herself from other family members in the home and wear a facemask when around others. The CDC offers an online Quarantine & Isolation tool to help determine isolation and quarantine recommendations.
COVID-19 treatments are available to those who test positive and are more likely to become seriously ill. These treatments can reduce the chances of being hospitalized or dying from the disease. Generally, those most vulnerable to COVID-19 include older adults (ages 50 years or older, with the risk increasing with older age), unvaccinated people, and people with certain pre-disposing medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system.
Antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19 must be prescribed by a healthcare provider and should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis to be effective. Contact a healthcare provider, health clinic, or pharmacist to learn about treatment options, even if symptoms are mild at the moment.
Use the Test To Treat locator tool: Test To Treat (hhs.gov), or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to find a testing location that can provide treatment in your area.
Masking and social distancing
While facemasks are no longer required in many locations throughout the state and the U.S., individuals may still choose to wear facemasks and to practice social distancing to protect themselves and others. County officials highly recommend this for immunocompromised individuals who may be at higher risk of developing severe illness resulting from COVID-19. The CDC indicates that well-fitting N95 or KN95 masks are the most effective and they can be purchased at most pharmacies.
For more information on COVID-19 specific to Los Alamos, visit Los Alamos County’s website, https://lacnm.com/COVID.