With the number of confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in New Mexico, as well as school closings throughout the state, Socorro General Hospital as well as all Presbyterian facilities have taken the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of their patients, staff and community.

Dr. Jeff Salvon-Harman, chief patient safety officer and medical director of infection control at Presbyterian Healthcare Service said in statement that the tent outside Socorro General Hospital is not currently being used; it was put into place as a precaution in case it was needed to care for additional patients.

“Throughout the year, we conduct drills and exercises and have a standard plan in place so we are prepared for a possible widespread infection event,” he said. “To protect our community, we are also following current isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including asking all patients with respiratory symptoms to wear a mask when entering the facility and placing patients with identified COVID-19 risks in an isolation room during further assessment.” 

He said the hospital is ensuring supplies of personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection, are sufficient and readily available to staff and patients at all facilities. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and trouble breathing. If a community member suspects they have COVID-19, they should first contact the state hotline at 1-855-600-3453. Hotline personnel will assess callers for COVID-19 risk and determine whether they should be tested in a local facility.

“If DOH recommends testing, we ask that our community members call before arrival so that preparations can be put in place,” he said.

The clinic’s number is 575-838-4690 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or the Emergency Department at 575-835-8370 after hours and on the weekend.

“In most cases, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can recover at home,” he said. “If hospitalization is needed, we are prepared to care for these patients or transfer them to another facility if their condition requires it.”

While there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best ways to prevent illness are avoiding exposure through frequent hand washing; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; disinfecting frequently touched surfaces; and staying home when sick.