Eddy County studies increasing COVID-19 testing options

An end to COVID-19 testing at Eddy County public health offices in Carlsbad and Artesia led to a possible three-way government partnership for more testing in the County.

Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz said the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) stopped regular COVID-19 testing Sept. 13 at the two Eddy County health offices.

“That put us in a hard spot as far as testing. Right now, you’ve got all these mandates being required by different companies (stating) if you’re not going to get vaccinated you have to get tested and now we’re limiting the testing,” she said.

Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz (left) receives a service award from Eddy County Board of County Commissioners Chairperson Steve McCutcheon on Sept. 21, 2021 in Carlsbad. Armendariz said Eddy County was looking to partner with the City of Carlsbad and Carlsbad Municipal Schools for increased COVID-19 testing.

DOH Spokesperson David Morgan said the department began outsourcing testing for COVID-19 to contracted private companies in response to the increase in demand for testing. 

“Outsourcing allows DOH to maintain focus on both vaccinations and routine public health services,” he said.

“We worked diligently to deliver increased testing capacity throughout the state.  The public health offices in Eddy County, as well as in the Southeast region, took the initiative with constrained resources and provided testing until DOH was able to ramp up testing.”