We predicted it over a week ago: Governor Lujan Grisham has no intention of allowing mass gatherings to occur in the near future. WNMU President Joseph Shepard mentioned this fact in an email to students and faculty earlier in the month, but now it’s even hit the mainstream news that there is no plan for reopening New Mexico for mass gatherings soon. Most likely that won’t occur for 12-18 months, according to the New Mexico Department of Tourism. The Secretary of Tourism states the state needs herd immunity or immunization before the state can reopen. The former, of which cannot occur unless people get out, take masks off and socialize.
State to Hire “Contact Tracers”
According to advertisements she’s posting on Facebook and the state of New Mexico website, Governor Lujan Grisham will be hiring many “contact tracing” individuals who will work remotely and have the job of being her grassroots army to (based on the definition of the phrase) track people. Below we take a deeper dive into what these individuals may be asked to do based on their job description obtained from the state of New Mexico. The job description is that of a “health educator” and includes many duties that would have nothing to do with tracking whatsoever.
A brief description of Contact Tracer reads:
Health educators work to encourage healthy lifestyles and wellness through educating individuals and communities about behaviors that can prevent diseases, injuries, and other health problems. They attempt to prevent illnesses by informing and educating individuals and communities about health-related topics, such as proper nutrition, the importance of exercise, how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, and the habits and behaviors necessary to avoid illness. They may organize an event, such as a lecture, class, demonstration or health screening, or they may develop educational materials, such as a video, pamphlet or brochure.
The description begs a question of why exercise is considered important when we’ve had a lockdown that has discouraged that the past two months and what government education on sexually transmitted diseases have to do with COVID-19 tracking. The description goes on and further describes that critical “contact tracing” operations will involve only two points listed as the basic operational duties of the position:
- Employees in this Role coordinate and monitor disease immunization and plan prevention and intervention programs.
- Employees may provide public health education in a district with responsibility for a major segment of a statewide public health education/promotion program such as child health, adolescent health, adult health, smoking prevention, injury control, etc.
Based on the job description of people the Governor is hiring, these new “contact tracers” will be tasked with the education and implementation of a comprehensive vaccination protocol she may be developing on the fly (implementation is months away).
Also per the job discription, those who don’t take a vaccine right away will be the subject of “intervention programs.” In education and social work, interventions are tools we use to get kids who aren’t learning or cooperating (i.e. demonstrating challenging behavior) to do what we want them to do and get them on track.
Many New Mexicans have spoken up and stated that the power has gone to Governor Grisham’s head and have called out the overreach. While most rural counties have either never had a curve to flatten or long ago flattened the curve, Lujan Grisham continues to have stricter rules for the Gallup and McKinley County area, while forcing the rest of the state, including rural communities that never had more than a handful of cases that have recovered weeks, and in some cases over a month, ago.
Why can’t the state reopen? Earlier, Governor Grisham claimed it was because she wanted the state to follow the steps together and reopen as a unit, however, as time progresses, it doesn’t appear that she cares about the entire state moving along simultaneously because if she did, there would not be different standards for the heavily-hit Covid-19 hotspot of Gallup.
Crime is up, suicides are going up, at what point will Governor Lujan Grisham admit this isn’t working and reopen like many states have?
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