New Mexico is using cell phone data from a third party to create social distancing models as a way to gauge whether residents are adhering to social distancing models, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday.
The data is being provided by Descartes Labs in Santa Fe, which has access to the cell phone data, the governor’s office said in a statement to CNN.
The state also wants to screen truckers who are bringing in supplies and take their temperatures but doesn’t have enough temperature readers to do so, Lujan Grisham said.
“We’re really nervous that this virus will follow travelers into the state,” she explained.
The state is using road signage to let travelers from out of state know that many state parks are closed and small communities should not be visited, Lujan Grisham said.
She added she does not want people visiting tribal communities or pueblos and has put up signage to say so, as well as diversions and road blocks.
Lujan Grisham said there is a concern that tourists will overrun small communities, expose them to the virus and buy many supplies needed by residents.
Some tribes have put curfews in place to help dissuade travel of members, Lujan Grisham said.
The Trump administration is in discussions with the tech industry, including Facebook and Google, about how to use Americans’ cellphone location data to track the spread of the novel coronavirus, the companies told CNN last month.
Another pair of companies showed this month how tracking location data from phones can be used to monitor the spread of the virus.
X-Mode and Tectonix focused the phones of people who visited the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in March – among them spring breakers who made national news last month when they ignored warnings to practice social distancing despite the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The results of that data, in a striking map posted on Twitter, showed where people went after they visited the beach, spreading out all across the country to major cities including New York and Chicago, possibly bringing the coronavirus with them.
Clarification: CNN initially reported New Mexico was using cell phone data to track the movement of people and whether they are adhering to stay-at-home orders. The governor’s office clarified to CNN that the state is using a third party to gather cell phone data, and that it will be used to develop social distancing models that will gauge how well residents are adhering to the stay-at-home order.
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report.