Highlands Employees Volunteer With Las Vegas COVID-19 Test Site

April 19, 2021

Las Vegas, N.M. – Employees from New Mexico Highlands University are lending a hand with the COVID-19 drive-through test site the City of Las Vegas is offering Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The COVID-19 drive-through test site is at the city’s Abe Montoya Recreation Center at 1751 North Grand Ave. The City of Las Vegas has been offering the service to the community since February 1, 2021.

Las Vegas residents who want to register for the drive-through test site may do so online at www.curative.com  For those without Internet access, city staff and volunteers at the site will help with the registration process.

“This testing helps us meet Gov. Lujan Grisham’s policies for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in New Mexico,” said Donna Castro, Human Resources director for Las Vegas who is coordinating the COVID-19 testing in conjunction with the city’s Office of Emergency Management. “We depend on the Highlands University volunteers and without their support, this testing would be more difficult. We’re grateful to volunteers from Highlands, the Las Vegas Rotary Club, and City of Las Vegas staff such as Consuelo Gallegos and Desaree Ortiz.”

Highlands University President Sam Minner said, “We’re glad to be part of another partnership with the City of Las Vegas, this time to help make our community a healthier place.”

Castro said that during February and March, 2,244 Las Vegas and San Miguel County residents have used the city’s drive-through COVID-19 test site.

The volunteers from Highlands are wearing protective face coverings and gloves when they hand the plastic-covered testing kit to the resident. The resident then drops their self-administered mouth swab test in a collection box.

The Highlands volunteers also help with the check-in and registration process for residents.

The city sends the test kits overnight to Curative Testing Labs in Washington, D.C. for analysis and participants receive their results within 48 hours.

April Kent, a librarian and head of public services at the Highlands University Donnelly Library, volunteered to help with the city’s COVID-19 test site, saying it is rewarding.

“It feels really good to be able to contribute to the health of the community,” Kent said. “The Highlands volunteers show that the university is part of the greater Las Vegas community and we care about our collective wellbeing.”

Kent said the city’s safety procedures make the volunteers feel very secure in the process.

Other staff, professors and administrators from Highlands who are volunteering to help the City of Las Vegas with its drive-through COVID-19 test site include Robert Anaya, Doris Gallegos, Rebecca Maldonado Moore, Mary Earick, Edward Martínez, Brandon Kempner, Ian Williamson, Melissa Williamson, Roxanne Gonzales and Kimberly Blea.

The Highlands volunteers have helped at the Las Vegas COVID-19 drive-through test site since March, with plans calling for them to volunteer through May in three-hour shifts.

“The City of Las Vegas plans to continue the COVID-19 testing as long as it’s needed in the community,” Castro said.