ESTANCIA, N.M. – Authorities say a New Mexico woman who tested positive for COVID-19 is facing charges after she refused to quarantine herself and visited several businesses.
KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports prosecutors recently charged Gina Peterson with public nuisance and violating the state’s health order.
According to a criminal complaint, the 67-year-old Peterson walked in the Mama Bear’s restaurant in Estancia on April 10, announced she had the coronavirus and refused to leave. Documents say she later came back and stayed in the women’s restroom until the town’s police chief removed her.
Police also say she visited other businesses in town and announced she had the novel coronavirus.
Officers later learned Peterson had been diagnosed with the virus and the doctor had instructed her to quarantine herself per the governor’s public health order.
Mama Bear’s owner Kathy Swope says after the episode she closed the restaurant for 10 days and stopped takeout orders.
Peterson is believed to be the first known COVID-19 patient charged in New Mexico for not quarantining herself.
It was not known if she had an attorney.