The daily recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (4/7/20 edition)

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  • Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham extended and expanded the state’s public health emergency over COVID-19. It includes closing liquor stores, automobile dealerships and payday lenders. Another change will also limit how many people can go into retail stores that remain open, including grocery stores. Read our story, with the details, here.
    • Earlier, the Navajo Nation leadership wrote to the governors of New Mexico and Utah asking them to close liquor stores near the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Times reported.
  • The state announced 62 new cases of COVID-19. That means a total of 686 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New Mexico. See our story for more details.
    • Of note: Nearly 23 percent of the tests processed in the state were part of the announcements in the last two days (4,997 out of the total 21,825). 
  • The Navajo Nation reported another 30 positive cases of COVID-19 since Sunday, according to the tribal government. The Navajo Nation now has 384 confirmed positive cases, including 72 in New Mexico, an increase of three over Sunday’s announcement.
  • Zia Pueblo in Sandoval County is seeing an outbreak, New Mexico In Depth reported. Acting Governor Floyd Toribio said 11 Zia Tribal Members are confirmed to have COVID-19 and potentially up to 20 may have the disease. The Zia Pueblo only has 1,000 tribal members.
  • New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf is in favor of a virtual special session.
  • An NMSU employee is hospitalized with COVID-19. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the employee had been working at home since mid-March, along with the rest of the staff.
  • NM Political Report spoke with Dr. Douglas Perkins, Director of the UNM Center for Global Health and professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Gregory Mertz, professor in the Division of Infectious Disease at UNM, on what we’ve learned so far about the novel coronavirus. Read our story here.
  • A “man camp” of workers building a border wall is concerning some in Columbus, New Mexico, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
    • “We are a rural village,” Helena Myers, a 30-year resident of Columbus, told the Sun-News, “and we are obviously concerned about an unnecessary build of the wall. That is not our priority when we have an epidemic.”
  • Some prisoners will be released early to reduce prison populations as COVID-19 spreads; only those who would be scheduled for release within 30 days and have parole plans in place will be eligible, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
  • The Santa Fe New Mexican wrote about local manufacturers who are making desperately needed equipment for dealing with COVID-19.
  • Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber issued an emergency order related to grocery stores, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The order allows stores to use plastic bags and limits the number of customers who can be in a store at one time, among other changes.
  • Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said in his daily press briefing that the city reached out to every nursing home, assisted care facility and similar facilities with permits to let them know the best practices for social distancing at the centers that house vulnerable populations. The city heard back from over 150 facilities, but still had not heard back from ten.
    Keller said some facilities were still doing activities in group rooms and that some were still doing communal dining. Even with distancing of six feet, that still should not be done, Keller said.
  • The Albuquerque Journal wrote about programs by UNM and CNM to help students with remote learning and about Albuquerque Public Schools providing chromebooks for students without devices.
  • Town of Taos manager Rick Bellis said in a Facebook comment that the town has “ordered a moratorium on Short-Term Rentals and is in the process of sending violation notices to 160 illegal short-term rentals,” to prevent out-of-state travelers from coming into Taos to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • This year’s Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe was canceled, the Santa Fe Reporter reported.
  • The Daily Lobo reported that the UNM Lobo Food Pantry is seeing increased demand and decreased donations.
  • Lincoln County officials approved the purchase of a triage tent to handle COVID-19 testing, the Ruidoso News reported.
  • Keller also said the city is accepting donations of surgical masks for frontline workers.
  • The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that two Public Regulation Commission employees tested positive for COVID-19. The PERA building, which currently houses the commission, was evacuated and disinfected.
  • Medical students at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine are collected PPE for local doctors, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
  • The Farmington Daily Times looked back at the coverage of the 1918-1919 Spanish influenza outbreak from the paper’s predecessor, the Farmington Times-Hustler.
  • The New Mexico Dream Team launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to help families with undocumented members druing the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish closed at sunset on Monday multiple Wildlife Managements Areas and Open Gate properties, according to the Los Alamos Reporter. The closures include the Bear Canyon Reservoir near Mimbres, the Bill Evans Lake Wildlife Management Area near Silver City, the Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area near Eagle Nest, the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association (RCCLA) Open Gate public fishing access near Costilla, and the Rio de los Pinos Wildlife Management Area near Tres Piedras along the New Mexico/Colorado border.
  • New Mexico had a record-setting month for gun background checks in March, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
  • Nonprofits in the Four Corners area are getting a lot of calls from people seeking help, the Farmington Daily-Times reported.
  • A French family that came to the United State in February for a six-month trip through the country is now parked in a driveway at a house in a village south of Santa Fe. The Santa Fe New Mexican wrote about the family.