March 25, 2020

The daily recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/25/20 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.

  • The state announced the number of New Mexicans who have COVID-19 has increased to 100, including another 17 on Tuesday. Read our story here.
  • The Navajo Times wrote about how the number of COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation continues to rise—and how medical equipment is also in short supply there as well. The Navajo Times reported 39 cases of those who live on the Navajo Nation; it has since increased to 49, which includes six in New Mexico.
  • The Albuquerque Journal took a step back and looked at where New Mexico is right now during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appeared on 11th Hour on MSNBC Monday night after issuing a stay-at-home order. One thing she noted: New Mexico has been doing better at tests per capita than many other states; data from The COVID Tracking Project shows that, using publicly announced numbers, New Mexico is among the states with the highest amount of tests per million residents (with numbers as of Monday). The only states with highest amounts of test per capita are New York and Washington, the two current epicenters of coronavirus spread in the country.
  • The State Supreme Court issued an order halting evictions for those who are unable to pay rent throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. Read our story here.
  • Test sites are open all around the state, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on them.
  • The state continues to ask early child care centers to stay open so that first responders and other government workers who have essential duties to perform can continue to go to work. Read our story here.
  • Legislators are trying to figure out feasible ways to hold a special session while dealing with COVID-19. Will it be a virtual session? Only allow a certain amount of legislators in the chamber at a time? The Albuquerque Journal looked at the options.
  • New Mexico State Police said that they, along with local law enforcement, will enforce the stay-at-home order if necessary. Businesses that are deemed non-essential but nevertheless remain open with in-person staff could face civil or criminal charges.
  • The Albuquerque Journal reported that the State Investment Council created a $100 million recovery fund to finance short-term loans to struggling businesses. The new fund comes from money from the state’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund.
    The paper quoted Lujan Grisham as saying during the meeting, which was conducted by phone, “None of us know how the next days and weeks will look, but we need to act on two fronts: to protect our citizens — which we’re doing as much as we can to mitigate the consequences from the coronavirus — and to recognize our obligation to do all we can to support our businesses.”
  • National forests will close some facilities in New Mexico. But the trails will remain open.
  • The City of Albuquerque announced more changes and closures, including changes to the city’s bus schedule. Read our story here.
  • The Sandoval County Attorney moved to dismiss an effort to release all nonviolent and misdemeanor offenders from jail. The attorney says the population has been reduced enough, mainly by transferring inmates to other facilities.
  • The Santa Fe City Council will consider adding $500,000 for COVID-19 response and extending the city’s state of emergency by 60 days, reported the Santa Fe New Mexican.
  • Public school teachers in Santa Fe will transition to virtual classrooms, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Schools are scheduled to reopen on April 6, but the governor said in a press conference yesterday that this may change.
  • U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released over $1.17 million in emergency grants for 16 community health centers, Pueblo health centers and Urban Indian Organizations.
    “This funding marks important progress in serving those on the frontlines protecting families in communities like Hatch, Fort Sumner, Lordsburg, Las Cruces, and Portales. I will continue to fight for our district’s priorities in the third upcoming emergency response funding package,” Torres Small said.
  • State Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, wants the state Taxation and Revenue Department to defer gross receipts taxes from the 1st quarter for 90 days. She said in a letter to the governor that it would help the business community.
  • Despite a surge in unemployment claims, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions hopes to process all the claims without any delay, reported the Albuquerque Journal.
  • Hotels in the tourist haven of Santa Fe are closing, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. And those that remain open are a shell of their former selves in terms of rooms—the state is only allowing a maximum of 50  percent capacity—and staff.
  • U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says the Trump administration should open back up enrollment to the Affordable Care Act.
    “Now more than ever, Americans need to have access to health care. A special open enrollment period for individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act would allow people who need to purchase a health care plan a critical opportunity to do so. We need to ensure New Mexico families are insured and able to receive critical and lifesaving health care, which is good for public health and makes things safer for entire communities. I will continue to look for ways to take meaningful action to remove barriers to quality, affordable health care for everyone.”
  • The City of Albuquerque announced that traffic through the Albuquerque International Sunport is at a “record low” even as the city has enhanced cleaning and sanitation and information from the New Mexico Department of Health in the terminal. The number of travelers is down nearly 90 percent, the city announced.
    Keller called it a “ghost town.”
  • U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced Tuesday all of his New Mexico offices are now telework only. His colleague, Sen. Martin Heinrich, announced the same on Monday.
    “I want New Mexicans to know that my staff and I are working tirelessly to make sure our state and New Mexico families have the resources they need to stay healthy and to weather this difficult period,” Udall said. “I encourage New Mexicans to continue to follow the guidance of the governor and state health officials to keep their families and communities healthy.”
  • The City of Alamogordo slammed a business that used false claims that grocery stores are running out of meat to sell its product.
  • New Mexico is in a better position to weather a potential recession spurred by the coronavirus pandemic than some other states in the U.S., according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, though the center warns that every state will likely see budget gaps in the coming months and require “aggressive help from the federal government.”
  • Ski Santa Fe closed its lifts already and asks that people don’t go there for any recreation.
    Ski Santa Fe is requesting that skiers, hikers and others NOT recreate within the permit area of Ski Santa Fe. These measures will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and just as important will reduce the potential for injuries that could put an additional strain on our emergency departments. As with all non-essential businesses in New Mexico we are closed and ask our community to stay home.
  • The news world is being hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19.
  • A non-profit relief fund for furloughed film and television industry workers worldwide got a $100 million boost from Netflix. Netflix has suspended work on all TV and films, including in New Mexico. NBC Universal is the other major studio working in New Mexico.
  • Scientists from the University of New Mexico are among those conducting research on COVID-19, reported the Albuquerque Journal.