The Joint Powers Commission (JPC) for Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) assembled for a regular meeting Thursday, October 15. While attending to a number of agenda items, one of the primary concerns of both hospital authorities and board members was the current increase in positive COVID-19 cases throughout New Mexico and neighboring states. 

As the session was held prior to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s planned statement to New Mexico residents Thursday afternoon, details regarding an expected retraction from previous health mandates were not yet known. However, Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Faulkner said steps had been taken to maintain SVH’s preparedness and to bolster the facility’s capabilities should they be called upon. 

Among primary issues SVH now faces is an increasing number of regional medical facilities that have ceased accepting patient transfers. Faulkner explained how this situation could force SVH to keep a larger number of patients in-house and in this regard, he said a waiver was obtained to utilize patient space in the old hospital building if necessary. JPC members were assured the older facilities have been maintained and are available if needed.

During board discussion, Williamsburg mayor pro-tem Majorie Powey, a former surgical nurse, expressed great personal concern over the number of citizens choosing not to follow established mask guidelines. She implored citizens to comply with health mandates and urged hospital officials to do more to ensure this message is delivered to the public.

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