March 15, 2020

The daily recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/15/20 edition)

U.S. Army

Note: This daily recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico from the previous day is available in a daily email. Sign up here. The same post will also appear on our website each morning.

  • On Saturday , the state of New Mexico reported three more presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, a type of coronavirus. This brings the total to 13.
  • Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller gave an update Saturday morning on the city’s response and preparedness for the possible spread of COVID-19. At the press conference, Keller emphasized the need to social distancing, warned against hoarding supplies, and announced new measures the city is taking. Read the story here
  • Lovelace Medical Center in downtown Albuquerque tested hundreds of people at a drive-up facility. The large number of tests means the facility may have limited hours in future days until they can access more tests, according to the Albuquerque Journal. On Saturday, the facility ran from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hospital encourages only those who have symptoms to seek tests.
    Meanwhile, Presbyterian Healthcare Services will begin a drive-up facility at its Westside facility at 4515 Coors Blvd NW. That facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Access to abortion care hasn’t been hugely impacted by the spread of COVID-19, but some advocates say that could change. Read our story here.
  • The state Department of Health announced Saturday an order to limit visitors to nursing homes as well as any other facility that cares for older adult patients. 
    • The order stimulates that the only visits to elderly care facilities should be by family members who are visiting a relative in “end-of-life care.”
    • The state is asking these types of facilities to take temperatures of visitors before they are allowed in.
    • According to DOH, the state’s Aging and Long-Term Services has a handful of cameras and expects to have 350 tablets in a few days to help families can use for virtual visits. 
    • DOH said the state will not punish facilities who inadvertently break state regulations by limiting visitors. 
    • Anyone who has questions or would like to inquire about virtual visits can call the Long Term Care Ombudsman (1-866-451-2901)
    • For questions or concerns about COVID-19 call DOH’s 24-hour hotline at 1-855-600-3453
  • Central New Mexico Community College announced that it will suspend all in-person classes. Online and distance learning classes will continue as planned.
  • Albuquerque’s Animal Welfare Department announced it would waive adoption fees for 90 days in an attempt to find homes for hundreds of animals.  
  • The Town of Taos declared a state of emergency Friday evening during an emergency meeting, as the town responds to concerns about the possible spread of COVID-19. The Taos News reports all town public events, trainings and gatherings have been canceled for the next 30 days. The town library, Taos Visitor Center, Taos Youth and Family Center and the Guadalupe Gym will remain closed during that period. The town has also canceled all June concerts scheduled at Kit Carson Park. 
  • Taos Ski Valley announced it will be closing the slopes March 22, and that all events scheduled at the ski valley — including the World Pro Ski Tour World Championships — have been canceled. The chartered jet service Taos Air will also suspend operations effective March 22. The Blake Hotel Resort will also close down on that date, and is offering rescheduling options or full refunds, according to The Taos News
  • Comcast is offering two free months of Internet service through its Internet Essentials tier, effective immediately, according to a tweet from an Albuquerque Public Schools IT account. U.S. Rep Ben Ray Lujan was one of a dozen Democrats who urged Internet service providers to offer accommodations to customers who may lack broadband access while schools and universities are closed and learning has moved online last week.
  • The Pueblo of Pojoaque is closing its three casinos, Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino, Cities of Gold Casino and Jake’s Casino, for two weeks starting Monday,  March 16 at 4:00 am, according to KOB-TV
  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez outlined the proactive measures the government is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation, according to The Navajo Post. As of Friday, grant schools, contract schools, and BIE schools, as well as the FACE Programs, Early Childhood Programs, Child Care Development Fund Programs, and Navajo Head Start Programs  are now closed for three weeks. All Navajo Nation Parks and recreation areas are also closed, until further notice. Nez also urged the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise board to consider closing gaming facilities and casinos. 
    “The health and well-being of our Navajo people is the top priority,” Nez said. “There are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the Navajo Nation, however under the careful advisement of health experts, emergency preparedness personnel, and other experts the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Preparedness Team continues to move forward with preventive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the Navajo people.”