A Truchas woman is now facing serious charges after she reportedly refused to put on a mask and coughed in a health care worker’s face. It happened at a medical center in Santa Fe.Joy Ebel is being charged with battery upon a health care worker, a fourth-degree felony.“We’ve seen this around the country,” said John Day, KOAT legal analyst. “We haven’t really seen this much in New Mexico. This is one of the first I’ve heard of.”A cough that’s sending a woman to court. It started at La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe. According to a criminal complaint filed this week, a Truchas woman by the name of Joy Ebel walked in with her child on Dec. 3. While in the waiting area, she didn’t have a mask on and per their rule, she was asked multiple times to put one on, but refused. After the third time, a medical assistant went over and told her if she wasn’t going to wear one, she could wait in her car instead.Then, Ebel allegedly began yelling and screaming at the worker and coughed directly in her face. Now, Ebel is charged with battery upon a health care worker.“A battery can be coughing on someone, a battery can be taking off your mask or going up to someone’s face and coughing on them because that’s done in a rude, an angry, or in an insolent way those are the key words in the New Mexico law” said Day. “…Any other time when there’s no pandemic when, when there’s no virus going around that would be a situation maybe.”Day said this is a very serious charge because of who the alleged victim is.“Because it’s a health care worker, because they’re just trying to do their job,” said Day. “Same thing if you had battered or attacked a police officer…the fact that the alleged victim was a health care worker, worked in a doctor’s office, worked in a health care facility, that’s what raises that office to a felony level.”He said if it was an ordinary person, it would have just been a misdemeanor.If convicted, Ebel could go to state prison for 18 months or get fined up to $5,000, Day said.At the time of the report, the health care worker told police she began working from home and was concerned she may have contracted COVID-19 from Ebel. But police haven’t been able to reach her for an interview.

A Truchas woman is now facing serious charges after she reportedly refused to put on a mask and coughed in a health care worker’s face. It happened at a medical center in Santa Fe.

Joy Ebel is being charged with battery upon a health care worker, a fourth-degree felony.

“We’ve seen this around the country,” said John Day, KOAT legal analyst. “We haven’t really seen this much in New Mexico. This is one of the first I’ve heard of.”

A cough that’s sending a woman to court. It started at La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe. According to a criminal complaint filed this week, a Truchas woman by the name of Joy Ebel walked in with her child on Dec. 3.

While in the waiting area, she didn’t have a mask on and per their rule, she was asked multiple times to put one on, but refused. After the third time, a medical assistant went over and told her if she wasn’t going to wear one, she could wait in her car instead.

Then, Ebel allegedly began yelling and screaming at the worker and coughed directly in her face. Now, Ebel is charged with battery upon a health care worker.

“A battery can be coughing on someone, a battery can be taking off your mask or going up to someone’s face and coughing on them because that’s done in a rude, an angry, or in an insolent way those are the key words in the New Mexico law” said Day. “…Any other time when there’s no pandemic when, when there’s no virus going around that would be a situation maybe.”

Day said this is a very serious charge because of who the alleged victim is.

“Because it’s a health care worker, because they’re just trying to do their job,” said Day. “Same thing if you had battered or attacked a police officer…the fact that the alleged victim was a health care worker, worked in a doctor’s office, worked in a health care facility, that’s what raises that office to a felony level.”

He said if it was an ordinary person, it would have just been a misdemeanor.

If convicted, Ebel could go to state prison for 18 months or get fined up to $5,000, Day said.

At the time of the report, the health care worker told police she began working from home and was concerned she may have contracted COVID-19 from Ebel. But police haven’t been able to reach her for an interview.