March 13, 2020

A recap of NM coronavirus news

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Note: Beginning 3/14, we will send out this type of post with a recap COVID-19 news from New Mexico in a daily email. Sign up here. The same post will also appear on our website each morning.

  • Thursday evening, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that public schools will be closed for three weeks beginning Monday in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, which is a type of coronavirus. See our story here.
  • The state of New Mexico banned ‘mass gatherings’ of more than 100 people. See the details, including the full order, here
  • The state of New Mexico confirmed a fifth positive test of COVID-19 on Thursday morning, this one a woman in her 40s from Bernalillo County.
  • State agencies will remain open despite the state announcements. They do, however, recommend if it’s possible to access services by internet or phone.
  • U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small announced she co-sponsored legislation to provide emergency paid leave to those who need to take 14 or more days leave because of COVID-19. It would include self-employed and gig-economy workers.
    The legislation would provide two-thirds of their monthly earnings, with a maximum monthly benefit of $4,000.
    “Right now, thousands of New Mexican families are worried not only about how the spread of the coronavirus will affect their ability to stay healthy, but how they’ll pay their bills in wake of economic uncertainty,” Torres Small said. “My legislation aims to help these hard-working families by ensuring that they don’t have to choose between their health and paying their bills on time.  New Mexicans should be focused on staying healthy and safe, not the fear of what could happen if they miss a paycheck.”
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate delayed a recess to continue work on a coronavirus bill. The Republican-led chamber continues to negotiate, along with the White House, with the Demcoratic-led House.
  • The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced Thursday it will close its churches and schools effective immediately.
  • New Mexico Attorney General issued a consumer advisory warning against price gouging in the wake of COVID-19.
    “Increasing prices on necessities like medical supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, and other items because our citizens are in fear of the coronavirus is simply unconscionable,” Balderas said in a statement. “Anyone increasing prices in order to illegally profit from this emergency will be prosecuted.”
  • Both of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, announced Thursday that they will temporarily closing their physical Washington D.C. office and staffers will work remotely. Udall says neither he nor any members of his office are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
    “As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, I and my office want to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of this virus to limit the impact on our health care system and keep communities safe,” Udall said in a statement. “Consistent with that aim, I am temporarily closing my physical Washington, D.C. office and instituting protocols to enable my staff to work remotely. I want to emphasize that my office will continue to serve the people of New Mexico with minimal disruption. I encourage the people of New Mexico to continue following the guidance of federal, state and local public health officials to keep their families and communities healthy.”
    This came after a staffer for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell tested positive for the virus.
  • Sports leagues across the country have postponed or cancelled games for the foreseeable future. In New Mexico, this includes postponement of minor league baseball, including the beginning of the Albuquerque Isotopes’ season, a suspension of the USL Championship, in which New Mexico United plays, and all NCAA events, including the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships which were scheduled to take place in Albuquerque this weekend.
    The boys and girls high school basketball championships will continue, but without fans
  • New Mexico State Parks announced overnight camping on state lands will be suspended until April 9. State parks will remain open for day use.
  • Albuquerque Academy closed in-person classes as of Thursday. The private school announced: “On March 11, we become [sic] aware that an Academy community member was in close contact with one of the people in New Mexico infected with COVID-19. There is no evidence that this community member has contracted the virus.”