New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is quarantining ‘out of an abundance of caution’


New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham removes her face mask at the start of an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico and the State’s effort to limit the impact of the disease on residents, during a news conference at the State Capitol in Santa Fe, N.M., Wednesday May 27, 2020. (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced she is temporarily self-quarantined in Santa Fe after a possible exposure to COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with state Department of Health guidelines.

A custodial staff member of the governor’s residence reported feeling unwell Thursday afternoon, and was immediately sent for a COVID-19 test. The staff member — who wore a facemask at all times, as is required for all staff members and workers at the residence — had worked on the personal side of the governor’s residence, but did not come into personal contact with the governor. 

Gov. Lujan Grisham received a COVID-19 test on Friday. The governor’s test result was negative. The governor shows no symptoms of COVID-19.

The governor’s fiancé, Manny Cordova, also tested negative and shows no symptoms of COVID-19.

The Governor’s Office and Department of Health determined 37 individuals — including all other residence staff members, the governor’s security detail and Governor’s Office and administration staff — were either at the governor’s residence or were potentially in the presence of the infected worker over the course of last week. All of those individuals were tested Friday or over the weekend; all 37 received negative test results.

According to the state Department of Health, close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual without symptoms are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19. Although the governor did not come into personal contact with the worker who tested positive, state health officials deemed testing prudent out of an abundance of caution.

The Department of Health stipulates that testing during the quarantine period does not end the quarantine period, as an individual may become infectious later in the quarantine period. The governor and other possible contacts are scheduled to receive another COVID-19 test Wednesday, Oct. 7.

“We have all seen how quickly COVID-19 can spread, not least in the high-profile example this week provided by the White House,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Although we have had good fortune so far in this case, I am not willing to risk the health or safety of my staff or any New Mexican, and therefore I will continue to quarantine until such time as it can be determined with 100 percent certainty that I am not carrying the virus. 

“Working remotely is not new to me or my staff, and we will not lose a beat over these next two weeks,” the governor added. “This should serve to demonstrate to New Mexicans that we are all susceptible to a possible exposure. We should all continue to act as if we are already positive and if everyone around us is positive; it’s the best practice for ensuring the risk of infection to ourselves and those around us is minimized to the greatest extent possible. 

“I continue to be grateful to the hard-working staff at the Department of Health for their expeditious work every single day in testing and tracing New Mexicans and any of their contacts.”

The governor will quarantine at her residence in Santa Fe for at least two weeks from the date of her possible exposure, which was Thursday. 

The governor’s day-to-day work schedule is unchanged. She will continue to work remotely, as she has done since the outset of the pandemic.

The governor plans to host her weekly COVID-19 public update remotely later this week. The Office of the Governor and state health officials will announce scheduling information about that update later in the week.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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