May 1, 2020

The daily recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (5/1/20 edition)

U.S. Army

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See all of our COVID-19 coverage here.

  • The state announced on Thursday that it would ease some restrictions, but keep the stay-at-home order in place. If the state is able to avoid a spike in new cases, further restrictions could be lifted by mid-May. Read our story here.
  • The state Department of Health announced 11 new COVID-19-related deaths, the most in a single day, and 198 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. See the story here.
  • The Navajo Nation announced an additional 164 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths related to the disease. That brings the total for the Nation to 2,141 total cases and 71 deaths. The cases in New Mexico have reached 809, an increase of 46 over Wednesday’s announcement.
  • The state Supreme Court ordered the City of Grants to comply with the state public health emergency order, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The Attorney General had sought a writ of mandamus from the state’s high court and, as NM Political Report reported Thursday, the city faces a whistleblower lawsuit from the former city manager who said she was fired because she opposed defying the order.
  • Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley joined the Albuquerque Journal for a webcast interview on unemployment in the state.
    • In the interview, McCamley said people who refuse to go back to work when businesses open risk losing unemployment benefits.
  • An inmate in a Luna County jail described her experience during the pandemic to New Mexico In Depth.
  • The Rio Grande Sun reported that Native women who are facing violence at home are too scared to go to shelters for fear of contracting COVID-1(.
  • Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced in a press release Thursday that she began sending absentee ballot applications to all eligible primary voters.
    “The best way voters can exercise their democratic rights while also protecting their own health and the health of their communities is to vote from home for the 2020 Primary Election using an absentee ballot,” Toulouse Oliver said. “Voters should be on the lookout for an absentee ballot application in the mail and, once they receive it, follow all the directions and return it to their County Clerk ASAP.”
  • A group of advocacy nonprofit organizations released a report Thursday with a list of policy recommendations on how the state can help immigrant families who reside in New Mexico. Many are already struggling because immigrants were excluded from the federal $2 trillion CARES Act passed last month and are also excluded from Unemployment Insurance benefits, despite paying local, state and federal taxes. Read our story here.
  • U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, along with other senators, expressed support for a letter sent by nearly 500 organizations across the country asking that congressional leadership spend at least $50 billion for childcare centers, calling the expenditure crucial to restarting the economy. Read our story here
  • In a meeting on Wednesday night, the Santa Fe City Council approved massive furloughs as they seek to close a big budget deficit for the city. 
  • U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland led a letter earlier this week calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to release funds for tribal governments from the federal CARES Act, a COVID-19 relief bill. Native Americans have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, especially in New Mexico. The CARES ACT provided $8 billion in relief for tribal governments.
  • Despite a small amount of cases in Rio Arriba County, experts say that reopening the northern New Mexico county would not be safe, the Rio Grande Sun reported.
  • The City of Las Vegas ended its temporary curfew, the Las Vegas Optic reported.
  • Two employees at a Cloudcroft preschool are self-isolating after they came into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, the Alamogordo Daily News reported.
  • About two dozen churches in the state signed onto a petition asking the governor to allow in-person worship services, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported. In her Thursday press conference, Lujan Grisham had said allowing some form of in-person church services could be considered in mid-May if the current easing of restrictions doesn’t lead to a rebound in cases.
  • A Walgreens in Las Cruces briefly closed for cleaning this week after an employee was told about a potential positieve COVID-19 case, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
  • State Rep. Rudy Martinez, D-Silver City, announced he will convene a Miner Resource Task Force as Freeport-McMoRan Inc. furloughed employees at Chino Mine and will likely lay them off and said they will have big cuts in operating costs for the rest of the year.
    “I won’t mince words –  these proposed cuts due to the urgent and growing economic downturn are going to have a tremendous impact on so many members of our community,” Martinez said. “We must come together quickly to pull through and overcome, and this task force is part of that response.”
  • Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller opened applications for $1 million in non-profit relief funds for those who provide services to the community to address the loss of income and health care during the pandemic. Proposals are due on May 8 on the city’s website.
  • Don’t expect any New Mexico United games any time soon. The USL, the league in which United play, announced it won’t begin on May 10 and extended moratoriums on allowing training until May 15. The lower division, USL League Two, had its season canceled.
  • BLM is planning online meetings for the Chaco-area drilling plans, the Farmington Daily Times reported.