Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/24/20 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. The state reported 200 new cases of COVID-19, the first time the state had 200 or more cases reported in a single day in nearly a month. Read more here.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials will provide a COVID-19 update on Thursday.Four staff members and two students tested positive for COVID-19, the state Public Education Department announced. Details here.A third-grader at Puesta Del Sol Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19, KRQE-TV reported.Officials closed Yucca Height Elementary School in Chaparral because an employee had exposure to a potential COVID-19 case, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.The school district in Carlsbad is encouraging parents to get COVID-19 tests in an attempt to get Eddy County to the point where they can open to in-person instruction, KRQE-TV reported.

First day with 200 new COVID-19 cases in nearly a month

On Wednesday, the New Mexico Department of Health reported 200 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths related to the disease. This was the first day the state reported more than 200 cases in a single day in nearly a month, since August 26. The most cases came in Doña Ana County, with 33, followed by 28 new cases in Bernalillo County, 22 new cases in Chaves County, 22 new cases in Eddy County and 15 new cases in Curry County. DOH also reported 11 more cases among state Department of Corrections inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility, bringing the total in that facility to 48. DOH also reported the first case in the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County. 

COVID-19 has spread quickly throughout detention centers and prisons in New Mexico and elsewhere.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/23/20 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. State health officials reported 110 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths related to the disease. Read more here.The state of New Mexico is using federal loans to pay unemployment benefits because the unemployment benefits trust fund, the Associated Press reported.The Santa Fe New Mexican spoke to some teachers who are ready to go back to school—but with precautions.State health officials spoke about COVID-19 and encouraged residents to get flu shots during a livestream on Tuesday, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported. Also see the coverage from the Albuquerque Journal and Santa Fe New Mexican.They implored parents to not send students to school if they’re sick, KRQE-TV reported.The state Public Education Department announced three additional positive cases of COVID-19, KRQE-TV reported.Rio Rancho Public Schools reported a positive COVID-19 case at Sandia Vista Elementary, the TV station reported.The Navajo Nation instituted a 57-hour weekend lockdown because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the Navajo Times reported.KOB-TV looked at how far CARES Act funding will go towards water projects for the many residents who lack running water.The Santa Teresa High School volleyball teams had to quarantine after a coach for the team tested positive for COVID-19, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

DOJ backs suit challenging COVID-19 rules for private schools

The U.S. Department of Justice weighed in on a lawsuit alleging that the state’s COVID-19 rules on private schools, including religious schools, during COVID-19 are unconstitutional ahead of a hearing on a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction scheduled for Wednesday. U.S. Attorney John Anderson filed a brief agreeing with plaintiffs that the state’s rules violate the U.S. Constitution. “The United States also has a strong interest, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in ensuring the development and maintenance of the best possible public health strategies to combat the virus and protect the people of the United States from harm,” the brief filed in federal court said. “But that interest must be balanced with constitutional liberties.”

The brief contrasts the rules that say private schools are limited to 25 percent of capacity for in-person instruction to those that allow daycare facilities to operate at 100 percent capacity and elementary schools to operate at 50 percent capacity—as part of a hybrid model which includes online instruction—with COVID-safe precautions, and says this is unfair to families enrolled in private schools. A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said that private schools actually have more flexibility than public schools.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/22/20 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. The state Department of Health reported 106 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths. The spread rate also went above the state’s gating criteria. Read more details here.The federal Department of Justice filed a brief in a lawsuit that claims the state is being unfair to private schools through its public health rules.

DOH: 106 new COVID-19 cases, two additional deaths

On Monday, state health officials reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths related to the disease. Bernalillo County, with 27, Doña Ana County, with 18, and Santa Fe County, with 15, were the only three counties with double-digit numbers of newly reported cases. The state Department of Health has now found 27,683 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 851 deaths related to the disease. The two deaths related to the disease were both women who had underlying conditions, though DOH, as usual, did not disclose which underlying condition because of privacy concerns. One woman was in her 70s from Bernalillo County, while the other was a woman in her 60s from Sandoval County who was hospitalized.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/21/20 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. On Saturday, the state DOH reported 164 new cases of COVID-19 and another 67 on Sunday. DOH also reported eight additional deaths related to the disease.Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver spoke to NM Political Report about voting during the pandemic for this year’s general election.Doña Ana County will put drop boxes at all voting sites, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.Conditions have improved in a number of counties, including Doña Ana County, giving them the go-ahead to look at opening up their schools to in-person learning through the hybrid model, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.Advocates have said that the pandemic and the reliance on distance learning has led to problems for special education students, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.Ten of the fifteen positive cases reported on Thursday and Friday last week by the state Public Education Department were among those at Roosevelt Schools, including three students, The Eastern New Mexico News reported.Another inmate at the Grant County Detention Center tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the Silver City Daily Press reported, bringing the total to seven. More tests are still pending.The State Auditor’s office released its report on Rehoboth McKinley Christian hospital in Gallup, which was at the center of the response to the massive spread of COVID-19 in the area—and found problems with oversight at the facility, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.Speech language pathologists spoke to KOB-TV about how they are dealing with people who have recovered from COVID-19, mostly those who were intubated.An event at the Northern Edge Casino on the Navajo Nation had the distribution of food, hygiene products and also encouraged census participation among Navajo Nation residents, the Farmington Daily Times reported.Silver School District will start sending students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade to in-person learning in the hybrid model on Monday, the Silver City Daily Press reported.Things are stabilizing with the worldwide oil industry, the Albuquerque Journal reported, but it’s at a far lower level than before the pandemic.The pandemic has led to problems with interim committee hearings for legislators, a key part of crafting legislation for the annual legislative session in January, the Santa Fe New Mexican wrote.Red River won’t be able to hire international students to work at the ski area and other businesses around the town because of COVID-19, KRQE-TV reported.Most Las Cruces city councilors aren’t in favor of lowering the minimum wage for tipped workers as proposed by the city’s mayor, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.The Albuquerque Journal wrote about an upcoming meeting of the New Mexico Activities Association, which governs high school athletics in the state, in which it will discuss COVID-19.The Public Employees Labor Relations Board ruled that the city of Santa Fe violated labor law when implementing its furlough plans, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.The Greater Chaco Coalition joined many other groups in asking for an extension period on comments for the resource management plan in the area, the Farmington Daily Times reported.

DOH: 164 new COVID-19 cases, six additional deaths

New Mexico health officials announced 164 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the third straight day with 150 or more newly reported cases. The state also reports six additional COVID-19 deaths. The new cases announced by the New Mexico Department of Health included 18 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility, nearly doubling the total number of confirmed cases in the facility. COVID-19 has spread quickly in correctional facilities and prisons in New Mexico and in other states during the pandemic. Among counties, Bernalillo County and Doña Ana County each had 31 new reported cases, while Eddy County continued its growth in cases with 15, while Chaves County had 10 newly reported cases.

DOH reports 154 new COVID-19 cases, five additional deaths

State health officials reported 154 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the second straight day the state reported over 150 cases of the disease. Additionally, the state Department of Health reported five additional deaths related to COVID-19. DOH has now found 27,350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and reported 841 deaths related to the disease. The most newly reported cases came out of Bernalillo County, with 30. Bernalillo County has by far the highest population of any county in the state.

Good trends with COVID-19 in NM lead state to ease a few more restrictions

The governor and officials said there continued to be good news on the state’s COVID-19 response, as it continues to meet most gating criteria. Because of this, New Mexico will allow some youth sports practices to go forward as the state continues to slowly lift restrictions throughout the state beginning Friday. The state will also allow camping at state parks, for New Mexico residents, at the beginning of October. In both cases, the prohibition on gatherings of more than ten people stays in place. And in the case of youth sports, there will be no competitive games or contact allowed.