April 30, 2020

The daily recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (4/30/20 edition)

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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 its highest one-day total of new cases on Wednesday, with 239 positive cases. The state now has over 3,200 cases. With two additional COVID-19 deaths, there are now 112 deaths related to COVID-19 in the state. See our story here.
  • The Navajo Nation announced 104 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths. There are now 1,977 confirmed cases and 62 deaths on the Navajo Nation. Of the total cases, 763 are in New Mexico, an increase of 50 over Tuesday’s announcement.
  • Rural health care providers say that being able to reimburse telehealth services through Medicaid and Medicare is a “sea change” and a big help to providers and patients alike. See our story here.
    • Planned Parenthood said more people are seeking abortion care through telemedicine than before. See our story here.
  • An employee of the San Juan County courts tested positive for COVID-19, the Farmington Daily Times reported.
  • The NAACP branch in Albuquerque is keeping an eye on the COVID-19 data, as other states have seen a disproportionate impact on African-Americans. See our story here.
  • The Albuquerque Journal reported on parents and a son, all with COVID-19-related deaths, near Shiprock. 
  • The House and Senate are split on how to meet during a summer special session, likely to come in mid-June. The House wants to allow virtual attendance, which would require a rule change, while the Senate wants to meet in person.
    • The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on possible cuts to balance the budget, including capital outlay projects and the state’s early childhood care trust fund. And they still may use much of, if not all, the state’s reserves and one-time money.
  • A peanut shelling facility in Portales is temporarily closed after “several positive tests for COVID-19” The Eastern New Mexico News reported.
  • The Albuquerque Journal reported on how UNM scientists are tracking the spread of COVID-19 in New Mexico. One of the earliest strains in New Mexico was closely related to strains out of Europe.
  • Three large public utilities want help from the Public Regulation Commission on the impacts of COVID-19, the Farmington Daily Times reported. Utilities have stopped shutoffs for inability to pay during the crisis.
  • Valencia County announced Wednesday that it would reopen the offices of the county clerk, treasurer, assessor and administrative offices.
    “We have property tax collection, valuation protests, and early voting all beginning in May,” County Commission Chair Ryan Schwebach said in a statement. “The County Administrative Building in Estancia, simply cannot remain completely closed to the public during this critical time.”
  • The day after the state said a Doña Ana County Commission meeting violated the state’s public health orders, the county manager said that he will recommend different procedures to avoid having more than five people gathered; public officials and employees are exempt during the course of their public business, but the audience is not. 
  • The Deming Headlight ran a Q&A with the Mimbres Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home on COVID-19.
  • KUNM devoted their latest podcast episode to health care workers. Listen here.
  • TriCore Reference Laboratories announced Wednesday that it will begin antibody testing on May 4. Antibody testing is considered necessary to track the spread of the disease.
    “This blood test is used to detect the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system in response to the COVID-19 infection. Current evidence indicates that antibodies develop approximately 6-10 days after infection, but there is no proof at this time that the presence of the COVID-19 antibodies mean an individual is immune to subsequent infection by the virus,” Dr. David Grenache, TriCore’s Chief Scientific Officer, said in a statement. “Therefore, these test results should not yet be used to make decisions regarding decreased social distancing, return to work policies, or a decreased need for personal protective equipment. The antibody test provides information about exposure and should not be used by itself in the diagnosis of acute COVID-19.”
  • The USDA approved New Mexico for the federal Pandemic EBT program which provides assistance to families with children who are eligible for free or reduced school meals. This will provide $46.1 million to 69,755 SNAP households and $51.6 million to 85,035 non-SNAP households for closures from March 16 to June 19.
  • Santa Fe food banks are delivering to those who cannot make it to distribution sites, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
  • Chile farms could be facing a shortage of workers, the Associated Press reported.
  • The Santa Fe Reporter reminded New Mexicans not to drink hand sanitizer as distilleries across the state make hand sanitizer.
  • The Silver City Daily Press is planning on online forums for candidates in the upcoming elections.
  • The City of Albuquerque, through donations to the City’s Department of Senior Affairs and Albuquerque Police Department substations, donated nearly three tons of non-perishable food, hygiene products, paper goods, and cleaning supplies to citizens of To’Hajiilee. The city announced this during a press conference on Wednesday.
    • The city also provided an additional 10 $5,000 grants to micro-businesses from the One Albuquerque Fund.
  • The state of New Mexico announced Wednesday that it received a machine, the Battelle Critical Decontamination System, that can decontaminate up to 83,000 N95 masks per day. It is expected to be fully functional on May 2 and will remain in the state for six months. The machine uses concentrated vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate the equipment, which has been in short supply across the world because of the COVID-19 crisis. The masks can be decontaminated up to 20 times.
    Earlier this month, NM Political Report wrote about a similar process used by UNM researchers in Kenya.
  • The 2020 Connie Mack World Series, scheduled for July, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic