Five COVID-19 infections at a Carlsbad bank prompted its closure in early March by the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH).
In a letter to Western Commerce Bank from DOH, closure was ordered at the downtown location at 127 South Canyon Street on March 5 as part of a Public Heath Order issued on February 24.
The letter, written by DOH Deputy Cabinet Secretary Billy Jimenez, said four or more rapid responses within a rolling 14-day period for certain businesses means automatic closure.
Jimenez in the letter noted five COVID-19 infections during four rapid responses from Feb. 22 to March 2.
Single COVID-19 infections were cited on February 22, February 23 and March 1. Two COVID-19 infections were recorded on March 2, the letter read.
“Western Commerce Bank must immediately cease operations at this location through 3/19/21,” Jimenez wrote.
“Western Commerce Bank may resume normal operations at this location on 3/20/21. If the business closed its operations at this location voluntarily prior to 3/5/21, those days of closure may be counted against the 14-day period, with the written consent of the Department of Health,” the letter read.
The letter said Western Commerce Bank may become exempted from Rapid Response Closure under the current Public Health Order, on the condition that the business enters into a Surveillance Testing and Contact Tracing Plan Agreement with the DOH and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).
Western Commerce Bank appears on the NMED’s rapid response list and employees were encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, the letter read.
Officials from Western Commerce Bank didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
Latest Eddy County COVID-19 figures
One COVID-19 death was reported in Eddy County on Friday by DOH. A man in his 80s became the 120th person whose death was related to COVID-19.
The number of new cases in Eddy County remained low from Friday to Tuesday, DOH said. Four new cases were cited Friday. That rose by one on Saturday to five and six new cases were recorded Sunday. The number fell to two on Monday and Tuesday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, DOH said 63,119 people were tested in Eddy County with 6,569 total cases and 5,900 recoveries.
DOH said 27 percent of Eddy County’s population registered for the COVID-19 vaccine and 22.1 percent were partially vaccinated, and 9.2 percent were fully vaccinated.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 126 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico. This number does not include New Mexicans who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been transferred to a hospital out of state.
Also, as of Tuesday, there were 167,659 COVID-19 cases designated as having recovered by DOH.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.