Businesses and Health Care Providers Deal With Changing Guidelines

6/29/21

Business and community leaders, as well as health-care providers find themselves answering many questions about the sometimes confusing standards of whether mask-wearing is still a necessity across San Juan County. Health-care professionals and city leaders find conflicting information. Sponsored by Boon's Family Thai BBQ and CMIT Solutions

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For many, the signs are everywhere. Some businesses require patrons and employees to wear masks as recommended by CDC guidelines. Others are eager to escape the protocols, which limit their ability to welcome customers. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Boon's Family Thai Barbecue and CMIT Services. I'm Wendy Graham settle. As counties and states have begun to relax mask mandates and social distancing protocols with the increase in COVID vaccinations, the city of Farmington continues to face some challenges. Many businesses still require customers to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols. Farmington City Manager, Rob Mayes said in a statement to Farmington Local News last week that the city is encouraging people to be quote, "patient, understanding, and kind to those businesses that elect to require masks for customers and employees." Dr. Brad Greenberg, emergency physician and Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness at San Juan Regional Medical Center says the city will continue to face challenges to further slow the spread of the coronavirus.

And there've been so many different things that have happened throughout the pandemic. There has been public health orders that have been far reaching and very broad that have come from the state, there's been local initiatives, and there's been additional sort of restrictions in order to reduce movement as well. So all those things in the context of an unprecedented pandemic, which is represents, I would say a severe illness, this is definitely not the flu, and which is very communicable, which has also a feature where it can be transmitted by those folks that are pre-symptomatic. Those are some real challenges. And it's hard to say how each one of these surges has ended. Some of it has to do with the natural course of the illness, the natural course of the epidemiology of the illness. And some of it has to do with these public health orders. I think by and large, the recommendations that are very simple. And I know that folks, they're a little bit difficult to hear because it's the same message again and again, but the way to get through this is those simple things that we're all very familiar with. It's wearing a mask, it's keeping, doing appropriate social distancing, it's washing your hands very frequently. It's making sure you stay home when you're sick and it's making really good choices about getting a vaccination.

Still, the mask mandates and social distancing protocols around town haven't been as strongly enforced as some would like. Which left this resident wondering why bother with the restrictions at all.

But I'm surprised to see how many locations that I go to and not a single person's wearing a mask, yet on the sign on the building, it says masks still required. So I don't know if businesses just aren't really enforcing that anymore. And they're just kind of backing off on that a little bit, but I do find it a little bit confusing.

Dr. Greenberg says medical facilities in surrounding communities continue to consult each other regarding mask wearing protocols. But because San Juan Regional is the only hospital in Farmington, it's the community's needs that come first.

We are the only hospital that exists in San Juan County and we have to do our best to make sure that we're making the right decisions for our residents and for our patients. And so even though other hospitals and they make specific decisions, we carefully consider and take those decisions into account, but we make our own decisions to make sure we're doing the best that we can for the residents of San Juan County and the region.

The New Mexico Department of Health estimates that more than 55% of New Mexicans have received at least one COVID vaccine, while nearly 50% of New Mexicans are fully vaccinated. The Food and Drug Administration and CDC continue to closely monitor data related to safety. If you have a question about a vaccine's safety, you should speak with your healthcare provider or visit the New Mexico Department of Health website at cv.nmhealth.org. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, serving Montezuma, San Miguel and La Plata Counties in Southwest Colorado and San Juan County in Northwest New Mexico. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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