City of Santa Fe Encourages Contact-Tracing App Use

New Mexico health officials report 110 new COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths

The City of Santa Fe is rolling out a new initiative encouraging Santa Feans to download and use an anonymous COVID-19 contact tracing app: NOVID. The city has begun placing signs in English and Spanish promoting the app around town.

NOVID, developed by Carnegie Mellon University mathematician Po-Shen Loh, allows users to anonymously log their COVID-19 status and then uses both Bluetooth and ultrasonic technology to measure the time sound takes to travel in order to sense the proximity of other NOVID-using phones. If a user comes within 9 feet of another NOVID-user for at least nine minutes, the phone logs the contact as an interaction. The app alerts users if they have come in contact with someone who has voluntarily self-reported testing positive for COVID-19.

Rich Brown, director of the city's Office of Economic Development, says the city's NOVID promotion began just a few weeks ago and was prompted by seeing the intermittent spikes in Santa Fe County cases.

"We recognized we needed to get in front of the contact tracing aspect," Brown says. A summer intern researched 16 different contact tracing apps and the city settled on NOVID, he notes, "because it was the number one application that we felt would work from a privacy standpoint and from a unique technology standpoint."

As noted, NOVID doesn't require any personal information but the more people in a community that are using it, the more useful it can become. Brown said the city also is working with NOVID to sign a contract for an internal and external dashboard that would show the usage stats in the city. Another potential area of collaboration, he said, would be the county and state health department, although those avenues have not yet been initiated.

State Human Services Director of Communication Jodi McGinnis Porter tells SFR the state itself is not working on developing a contact tracing app but is partnering with New Mexico State University on an application it has developed for use on the NMSU campus, which New Mexico Tech has expressed  interest in possibly using as well.

According to McGinnis Porter, World College is currently reviewing the NOVID app for potential use and the state "is partnering with them on their review."

The state's contact tracing focus, McGinnis Porter writes via mail, "has been on building the 'system,' which includes the framework, data-base, telephonic functions, scripts, staffing, training and so forth for the 'Call Center,' but we will get to a point to focus on the incorporation of a state app."

At the city, Brown says the focus currently is on getting the word out, with particular outreach to the Southside. Of Santa Fe County's 823 cases, nearly 55% are in the 87507 ZIP code.

The app initiative is part of the second wave of the city's Promise campaign. When the campaign first launched in the spring, it was "a corollary to some of the mask ordinances the city passed and some of the rules coming down at the state level," Eli Isaacson, the city's director of Planning and Land Use who is leading the campaign, says, and essentially focused on code of conduct in public (mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing). For the second iteration of the campaign, he says, the city plans to "more directly message areas of our community that are seeing disproportionate numbers of cases. We're really thinking out strategies that would be effective in communicating to folks in those neighborhoods to prevent the spread."

Other outreach efforts include a public service video, "Yo Prometo," launching Sept. 4 and starring local comedian and musician Carlos Medina. The city also recently partnered with Falling Colors and other organizations to paint Georgia O'Keeffe-inspired social-distancing clouds in Alto Park, which Brown says they hope to recreate on the Southside and the Plaza.

Statewide, New Mexico health officials today reported 110 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total number of cases so far to 25,460.

Doña Ana County led with new cases: 32 of them, followed by Bernalillo County with 30 and McKinley County with 10. Santa Fe County had two new cases today.

The state also announced eight additional deaths, including the second death in Roosevelt County. Bernalillo, Curry, Lea and McKinley counties also had new deaths; there have now been 787 total fatalities.

As of today, 72 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

New cases

  • 30 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 4 new cases in Chaves County
  • 3 new cases in Curry County
  • 32 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 8 new cases in Eddy County
  • 1 new case in Grant County
  • 1 new case in Lea County
  • 2 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 10 new cases in McKinley County
  • 4 new cases in Otero County
  • 7 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 2 new cases in San Juan County
  • 1 new case in San Miguel County
  • 2 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 1 new case in Sierra County
  • 1 new case in Valencia County
  • 1 new case among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County

New fatalities

  • A male in his 50s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites in Albuquerque
  • A male in his 80s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from Curry County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 60s from Lea County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 60s from Lea County who was hospitalized
  • A second male in his 60s from Lea County who was hospitalized
  • A female in her 80s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 80s from Roosevelt County who had underlying conditions.

Congregate facilities

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at the following facilities:

  • Adobe Assisted Living in Las Cruces
  • Advantage Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Artesia
  • Atria Vista del Rio in Albuquerque
  • Avamere at Roswell in Roswell
  • Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • BeeHive Homes of Hobbs
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bloomfield
  • Brookdale Santa Fe
  • Camino Healthcare in Albuquerque
  • Casa del Sol Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa de Paz Senior Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Casa Maria Health Care Center in Roswell
  • Casa Real in Santa Fe
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Good Samaritan Society Grants
  • Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
  • Good Samaritan Society – Manzano del Sol Village in Albuquerque
  • Good Samaritan Society Socorro
  • Harmony Residential Care in Rio Rancho
  • Heartfelt Manor in Roswell
  • Heritage Assisted Living in Las Cruces
  • Ladera Center in Albuquerque
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • Life Care Center of Farmington
  • LifeSpire Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Lovington Healthcare in Lovington
  • McKinley Care Center in Gallup
  • Mescalero Care Center in Mescalero
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho
  • New Mexico State Veterans’ Home in Truth or Consequences
  • North Ridge Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Albuquerque
  • Pacifica Senior Living in Santa Fe
  • Palmilla Senior Living in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ravenna Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • The Rehab Center of Albuquerque in Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • The Rio at Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • Rio Rancho Center in Rio Rancho
  • Saint Anthony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Las Cruces
  • Sandia Ridge Center in Albuquerque
  • San Juan Center in Farmington
  • Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Los Alamos
  • Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites in Albuquerque
  • Tender Heart Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Welbrook Senior Living Las Cruces
  • West Ridge Village in Albuquerque
  • Wheatfields Senior Living in Clovis

Statewide cases

According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included one case in Quay County that has been identified as a duplicate and one case in Bernalillo County that was not lab confirmed. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

  • Bernalillo County: 5,838
  • Catron County: 5
  • Chaves County: 731
  • Cibola County: 398
  • Colfax County: 19
  • Curry County: 675
  • Doña Ana County: 2,859
  • Eddy County: 500
  • Grant County: 83
  • Guadalupe County: 32
  • Harding County: 2
  • Hidalgo County: 98
  • Lea County: 1,132
  • Lincoln County: 171
  • Los Alamos County: 27
  • Luna County: 316
  • McKinley County: 4,213
  • Mora County: 6
  • Otero County: 222
  • Quay County: 62
  • Rio Arriba County: 358
  • Roosevelt County: 201
  • Sandoval County: 1,254
  • San Juan County: 3,194
  • San Miguel County: 82
  • Santa Fe County: 823
  • Sierra County: 38
  • Socorro County: 77
  • Taos County: 115
  • Torrance County: 63
  • Union County: 31
  • Valencia County: 514

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 324
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 281
  • Otero County Processing Center: 159
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 44

Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 29
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 4
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 1
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 1
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 473
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 1
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 4

*Per the health department, hospitalization figures include people who were tested elsewhere but are hospitalized in New Mexico, but don't include people who were tested here but are hospitalized out of state.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.