FARMINGTON – San Juan County, N.M., issued a declaration of emergency Monday afternoon because of the COVID-19 outbreak sweeping across the country.
As of Tuesday morning, there have been no confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus in San Juan County, and the state of New Mexico is reporting 21 confirmed positive cases in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Socorro counties. The cases have largely been focused on the metropolitan areas of Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
San Juan County Commission Chairman Jack Fortner signed the emergency declaration after a special meeting of the commission at noon Monday. The declaration extends to all local municipalities.
The commission’s statement said, “The declaration of emergency frees up county resources to respond and makes available state and federal resources.” The declaration also activated the county’s emergency operations center and will allow the department to continue coordinating with local agencies in preparation of necessary responses.
“Local school districts, municipalities, first responders and many others have all been planning for the health of the community,” the county’s news release said.
City of FarmingtonOn Tuesday, the city of Farmington announced it would suspend its policy to disconnect electric and water utilities for nonpayment until further notice.
“This is being done on an emergency basis to assist individuals experiencing financial hardship due to the current coronavirus situation,” the news release said.
People experiencing financial difficulties can call the city’s customer service line at (505) 599-1353 to discuss payment options.
The city’s electric and water utility departments will also waive all late and tag fees, and suspend collection and credit reporting. Customers who were recently disconnected could be reconnected if requested.
The city of Aztec also announced on its Facebook page Monday afternoon it would temporarily suspend service disconnections for non-payment of accounts. Customers struggling to pay their bill because of hardships related to the COVID-19 outbreak should call the Aztec Utility Office at (505) 334-7670.
In an effort to limit social exposure and to comply with New Mexico’s emergency declaration, the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter also announced it was changing its operations Tuesday. The shelter will be closed to the general public and appointments to meet an animal for adoption will be scheduled via phone.
The shelter announced it was currently at capacity for dogs and would be waiving all adoption fees for adult animals over the age of 6 months, and the adoption fee for puppies and kittens under 6 months old was reduced to $50. The shelter also encouraged people to consider fostering an animal to reduce the number in the shelter.
To continue minimizing contact with the public, anyone searching for a lost pet can do a walk-through from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, but it will be limited to one person at a time. The shelter also will not schedule new appointments for any spay or neuter surgeries. And dog walking is limited to only five walkers per hour.