State health officials reported nearly 800 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the third-highest number of daily cases in the state so far during the pandemic and also hit a new high on hospitalizations for COVID-19. The state also reported seven additional deaths related to the disease. The state now has more than 40,000 confirmed cases of the disease. The 229 hospitalizations for COVID-19 in New Mexico, as announced by the state Department of Health, are the most on any one date so far during the pandemic, and 16 more than reported on Thursday.
Voter turnout in New Mexico is quickly approaching half a million, as 486,626 voters have already cast their ballots as of Friday morning, according to numbers provided by the Secretary of State’s office. This included 259,193 voters who have cast ballots via early in-person voting and 227,433 who returned absentee ballots. While it’s unclear whether this is just regular voters shifting their voting forward, it appears New Mexico is headed toward record turnout this year. The updated number of requested absentee ballots was not immediately available, but it appears the percent of returned absentee ballots is nearing 60 percent. Voters must return absentee ballots by 7 p.m. on Nov.
One disabled Albuquerque woman, Jeanne Hamrick, said she would not be able to afford prescription drug costs if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act during this judicial term. Hamrick spoke during a live phone conference hosted by Democratic U.S. Senator Tom Udall to let average residents around the state talk about what losing the ACA would mean for them. The Supreme Court will hear California v. Texas on Nov. 10. The case challenges the constitutionality of the individual mandate and, with the likely confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett establishing a new conservative bloc majority, the court could overturn the entire ACA.
Hamrick said that before the ACA went into effect in 2013, she was paying $100 each month for prescription medication on a social security budget.
The state Department of Health reported 669 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the eighth time in nine days that the state has reported more than 500 cases. DOH also reported three additional deaths related to the disease. On the same day, State Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase held a webinar in which he said the hospitalization numbers include some troubling trends. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 increased to 213, 11 more than reported on Wednesday. This is tied for the second-most COVID-19 hospitalizations in a single day in New Mexico.
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act during the 2020-2021 judicial term, the result for New Mexicans could be catastrophic, according to various officials and experts. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear California v. Texas on November 10. If Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Monday, as is expected, this will be among the first cases she will hear as a Supreme Court justice. If she is confirmed, she will create a new 6-3 conservative bloc on the court bench which could lead to a ruling that the entire ACA is unconstitutional. If this happens, 20 million Americans could lose health insurance coverage, according to a report by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
State health officials reported 827 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number reported in a single day in the state, and the second time in the last week the state has reported 800 or more confirmed cases in a single day.
DOH also reported eight additional deaths, the most reported in a single day since Sept. 1. The seven-day average of confirmed daily cases by the date they were reported reached 633. The seven-day average was 88 on Sept. 12.