April 9, 2020

The daily recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (4/9/20 edition)

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Note: This daily recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free daily email. Sign up here.

See all of our COVID-19 coverage here.

  • The New Mexico Department of Health announced three more COVID-19-related deaths. That brings the total to 16 in New Mexico so far. And another 72 positive cases brings the state’s overall total to 865. See our story here.
  • Part of the $2 trillion relief bill that Congress passed included a portion that appears to be directly aimed at Planned Parenthood. See our story on the local impact.
  • The Navajo Nation announced an additional 62 cases of COVID-19, to bring the total to 488, and confirmed an additional three deaths, to bring the total to 20 for the Navajo Nation. Of the confirmed cases, 126 are in New Mexico, an increase of 17 over Tuesday’s announcement.
  • The Pueblo of Zuni is also experiencing an outbreak; the pueblos’ governor said on Tuesday that 15 tribal members had tested positive for COVID-19, including one death.
    “I don’t know how else to put it but all of you need to stay home! I would ask you, is travel really necessary?” Governor Val Panteah wrote on Facebook. “Every time you leave your home, you are taking a risk against your health maybe even death!”
  • One way the state is helping pueblos who are being hit hard by the COVID-19 is by setting up roadblocks to Pueblo lands, New Mexico In Depth reported.
  • San Juan County is getting ready for the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. State officials expect the area to be the first in the state to experience a surge in cases that will strain and possibly overwhelm the area’s hospitals.
  • The legal battle over shifting to a mail-in election is shifting to the Supreme Court. Most county clerks, the Secretary of State and Democrats want expanded mail-in voting, while Republicans want a bigger focus on absentee ballots and to keep in-person voting open. Republican Party of New Mexican chairman Steve Pearce told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “Well, if you have bothered to go the Walmart or the supermarket during these times, I suspect that the crowd there is just as dense as it would be at any single polling place.”
  • Ben Ray Luján unveiled plans for an additional $250 billion COVID-19 relief bill, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
  • Albuquerque Public Schools students will start distance learning on Monday, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
  • The online news outlet Talking Points Memo took a look at how New Mexico’s testing remains more aggressive than most states and is allowing the testing of some asymptomatic individuals.
  • The City of Albuquerque is looking at reassigning unused money from the City Clerk’s Office to a $1 million coronavirus support fund.
  • A group of offroaders in southern New Mexico gathered this weekend despite the state’s ban on mass gatherings, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
  • New Mexico U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined most Senate Democrats in asking the Trump administration to reopen the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace to allow uninsured and under-insured people to buy health insurance. Read the letter here.
  • Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima declared a citywide emergency over COVID-19, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
  • Albuquerque Police Lt. Ray DelGreco said the APD will be monitoring businesses for compliance with the state’s nonessential business closure order, and will be citing businesses that do not comply. The department said it has already cited one smoke shop for refusing to close, despite warnings from officials. Mayor Tim Keller said the New Mexico Environment Department, Albuquerque Fire and Rescue and the Fire Marshal are all working on business closure enforcement.
    “These state orders are challenging, and are very tough on businesses. But they are extremely important and we’re trying to do the best we can to keep everyone safe. We’re trying to save lives, and keep as many essential businesses open that we can,” Keller said. “But non-essential [businesses], you just have to close.” 
  • KUNM spoke about small businesses and how they’re struggling.
  • The Alamogordo Daily News reported on how Otero County health organizations are getting ready for COVID-19 cases in the area.
  • Total Wine, a nationwide chain of liquor stores, attempted to stay open in Albuquerque until contacted by authorities to tell them they did not qualify as grocery stores.
  • Nineteen Democratic U.S. Senators, including New Mexico’s Tom Udall, are asking for financial relief for local journalism and news outlets, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 response, including a precipitous drop in advertising as local businesses are shuttered during stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders in most states. Read the letter here.
  • The Las Cruces food pantry Casa de Peregrinos is extending its hours of operation, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
  • The Valencia News-Bulletin reported that Valencia Power donated 106 laptops to Belen Consolidated Schools.
  • New rules on how many people can be in grocery stores and other retail stores still open take some getting used to from the businesses and from shoppers, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
  • Buffalo Thunder in Pojoaque is being used as a temporary quarantine facility for tribal members who are awaiting test results for COVID-19, according to the Santa FeNew Mexican, after the state reported two clusters of COVID-19 at San Felipe and Zia pueblos. The hotel has been closed to the public, and currently has 2 individuals staying there awaiting test results. 
  • Waste Isolation Pilot Plant workers are helping making and distribute masks for protection against COVID-19, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.
  • The City of Albuquerque has launched a new online data hub for residents to track the outbreak and find information about city services and public health orders. The Albuquerque Coronavirus Data Hub lists city services and community resources available during the pandemic, as well as business resources. The website is https://coronavirus-response-albuquerque-cabq.hub.arcgis.com/
  • Google location data shows that New Mexicans have reduced their travel more than neighboring states—but not as much as other states throughout the country, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
  • Police arrested a man who threatened Navajo tribal members because of COVID-19. See the Nation’s statement here.
  • The 2020 Wild West Pro Rodeo in Silver City will be canceled. It was scheduled for June 17-20, the Silver City Daily-Press reported.