April 17, 2020

The daily recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (4/17/20 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 state announced eight more deaths and the total amount of COVID-19 cases is approaching 1,600. See the breakdown here.
  • NM Political Report spoke to a research analyst who has created a Google Sites page to chart COVID-19 cases in the state. Read our story here
  • Cases on the Navajo Nation continue to climb, and the Nation set another weekend-long curfew this weekend in an attempt to slow the spread.
    • The Navajo Nation announced 121 new cases and three more deaths for the Nation. Of the the Navajo Nation’s 1,042 total cases, 378 are in New Mexico counties, an increase of 66 over Wednesday’s announcement.
  • The White House released guidelines for states to reopen the economy, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reacted, saying it’s too early. See our story here.
    • U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is on a bipartisan panel to advise the White House on reopening the economy. President Donald Trump has been pressuring for the economy to reopen. See our story here.
    • The Associated Press wrote about the small businesses that are being hurt by the response to COVID-19.
  • A Democratic lawmaker said that the Legislature should meet in April or May for a special session to address the budget and economic situation, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The governor’s office has said repeatedly that the she will not call for a special session until it’s safe for the Legislature to meet.
  • A lot of attention has been on the location data that the state, and others around the nation, are using to track movement. KRQE-TV reported on the company that is helping out, Descartes Labs. The data is in aggregate and anonymized, so they cannot pick any individual, the company said.
  • An investigation by the Attorney General into La Vida Llena, a retirement community in Albuquerque, found deficiencies in how the facility handled COVID-19 protections. Dozens of residents and employees have become infected with COVID-19, and ten residents have died.
  • Albuquerque’s federal courthouse will be closed for cleaning after someone with COVID-19 appeared for court, KRQE-TV reported.
  • The Albuquerque Journal looked at the differences in models on COVID-19’s spread and impact on New Mexico, specifically the model the state uses and the University of Washington model.
  • Republicans in the state want an apology for a tweet from the governor’s spokesman that said, “You don’t have to ask the death cult their opinion or publish their quotes. False equivalence now is actually life or death. There is no ‘both sides’ to this. There is one group preaching accelerated illness & death because they ‘love’ ‘business’ & if you can’t see through that?” The Santa Fe New Mexican wrote about it and quoted a spokeswoman in the governor’s office as saying, “The tweet in question does not reference any person, group, or organization specifically by name — if someone seems to think it’s about them, I’d say they’ve placed that upon themselves.”
  • The Associated Press looked at how the virus outbreak has impacted the 2020 Census count in New Mexico. 
  • KOB-TV looked at the state’s conversion of Canyon Transitional Rehabilitation Center into a facility for those in long-term care who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The state has a report that identifies nonviolent offenders who are eligible for release. They haven’t done anything with it, New Mexico In Depth reported.
  • KUNM reported on the racial disparities in who is being most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The City of Las Cruces could approve another $139,000 in aid, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
  • The Rio Grande Sun News wrote about how inequity in access to technology is impacting Española students who are completing their academic years with distance learning programs. 
  • The Navajo Times reported that the Na Nizhoozhi Center Inc. detox center in Gallup has shut down after a flood of COVID-19 cases—including many who the Indian Health Service is now unable to locate.
  • From Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s daily press briefings:
    • Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller chastised the Metropolitan Detention Center during a press briefing for refusing to take custody of individuals who are arrested by the Albuquerque Police Department.
      “APD is having some challenges with our jail, MDC,” Keller said, citing an incident in which a police officer spent nine hours with an individual in custody because the jail refused to accept the individual. “We need our jail to take our prisoners. That is their job. This kind of stuff is very dangerous to the public, and is extremely dangerous to our officers,” Keller said. “A judge, not MDC, has the authority to decide whether an individual can be released from custody.”
      Keller said the issue has been on-going, but has “gotten worse” during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that new leadership at the jail should help improve the situation.
    • Bernalillo County Commissioners approved Greg Richardson as the new chief of the Metropolitan Detention Center April 15, KRQE-TV reported.
    • On the crime front, Keller said 911 calls are down in Albuquerque, but added that things like commercial burglaries are up. “This is expected, because everyone is home instead of working,” he said. APD Deputy Chief JJ Griego said auto burglaries that typically occur at commercial establishments like movie theaters and gyms are also down, as are residential burglaries. 
      • The number of calls to the police department related to domestic violence during the pandemic has begun to drop after an initial spike, said APD Deputy Chief JJ Griego. Griego said the number of domestic violence-related calls are still higher than this time last year, but added that more analysis is needed to determine how many of those calls related to domestic violence, verbal arguments and other family disputes resulted in arrests. “There are resources available for those individuals that are victims of domestic violence,” Griego said. 
  • The state’s WIC program is now providing four months of food benefits instead of three, and is offering curbside service, to “further limit direct contact,” Keller said. 
  • Commercial burglaries have increased, while other crimes have decreased, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
  • The Farmington Daily-Times wrote about how policing is changing during the pandemic.
  • A couple of Santa Fe locations, Eloisa and Bar Alto, are closing permanently, the Santa Fe Reporter wrote.
  • The Magdalena Board of Trustees passed a resolution declaring a local emergency disaster, reported the El Defensor Chieftan.
  • The Alibi wrote about some crafters making masks
  • Oil and gas companies donated money to help out in the southeastern part of the state, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.
  • Santa Fe’s beloved Fourth of July Pancakes on the Plaza event has been canceled, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported
  • One smaller thing that people are struggling with right now: How to cut their hair. The Daily Lobo took a look at what people are doing.
  • The town of Red River Council voted to cancel vendors on public property for the annual Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally, the Taos News reported.