Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/16/20 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 announced seven newly reported deaths and 82 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Read more here.U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said Republican leadership in the chamber was stalling on a House-passed bill that would have provided $3 trillion in COVID-19 relief aid, KOB-TV reported. Udall and other Democrats, plus Republican Rand Paul, voted against the Senate bill that would have provided $300 billion in aid.The City of Farmington has seen an increase in suicides this year, possibly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Albuquerque Journal reported.Las Cruces Public Schools will have remote learning for the rest of the fall semester, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.The Farmington City Council will distribute $200,000 in CARES Act funding to nonprofits in the city, the Farmington Daily Times reported.Las Cruces city councilors will meet with business owners and employees on whether or not to lower the city’s minimum wage for tipped employees during the pandemic, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.On Tuesday, Navajo Nation health officials announced 9 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death related to the disease.KOB-TV reported on how members of the Navajo Nation are using their culture to fight back against the spread of COVID-19.Buffalo Thunder and several other Santa Fe-area workplaces reported COVID-19 cases, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.Five percent of all public school staff members will be tested for COVID-19 each week, KOB-TV reported.As of Sept.

Seven newly reported deaths, 82 new cases

On Tuesday, state health officials reported seven additional deaths related to COVID-19 along with 82 new cases. The most new cases reported by the state Department of Health were from Bernalillo County, 17, followed by McKinley County with 12. No other county reported double digit numbers of cases. 

But the state reported another 4 cases in the Lea County Correctional Facility, a day after reporting 11 cases. COVID-19 cases have spread quickly throughout correctional facilities in New Mexico and in other states in the past. The seven newly reported deaths came a day after DOH reported no additional deaths.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/15/20 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 81 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths related to the disease on Monday. Also, the state updated how the state is doing on reaching its gating criteria. Read more details here.The New Mexico Secretary of State’s office said it will reimburse counties for expenses related to installing drop boxes for absentee ballots this year, the Associated Press reported.

No new deaths, and 81 new COVID-19 cases, DOH announces Monday

State health officials reported on Monday 81 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths related to the disease. The most new cases came out of Bernalillo County where the state Department of Health reported 22 new cases. Luna County followed with 15 new cases, followed by Santa Fe County with 11 new cases. DOH also reported 11 new cases among state inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility, which previously had only reported four cases. The no newly reported deaths was the second time in the last week the state reported no new deaths in a single day, and part of a trend of declining deaths related to COVID-19.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/14/20 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 announced 203 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths this weekend, with 100 cases and three deaths related to the disease reported on Saturday and 103 new cases and two additional deaths reported on Sunday.Weeks after the start of the state’s public health emergency, the Management and Training Company told Otero County officials that if they didn’t get more detainees, the company would cancel the contract. Read more here.Reveal wrote about the problems the state had with tests at facilities that had ICE detainees.A judge denied an inmate’s request for release, saying that being in prison would be safer than being at home when it came to COVID-19. Read more here.Hundreds of people in Belen feathered to protest COVID-19 restrictions for churches, KOB-TV reported.

137 new cases, as cases continue to grow in Chaves County

State health officials reported 137 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and two additional deaths related to the disease. The state also continues to meet most of its gating criteria for reopening, though the average number of tests conducted daily is dropping. The total number of newly reported cases, on average continued to drop, to a level not reported in New Mexico since late May. Of the newly reported cases by the state Department of Health, more than a quarter—40—came from Chaves County in southeastern New Mexico. Lea County, with 15, Bernalillo County with 13 and Doña Ana County with 11 each also had double-digit numbers of newly reported cases.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (9/11/20 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. Note: Yesterday, I was one of the thousands of those without power. Luckily, PNM restored power in the early hours of the morning on Thursday, but not in time to have a newsletter out. Apologies for the lack of a Thursday newsletter.The governor spoke about good news in the state’s COVID-19 response, and about how the focus will be on education and ensuring childcare is available.

Focus on education as state continues to see COVID-19 improvement

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials had a largely positive press conference related to COVID-19 on Thursday. While the governor addressed further discussions of further easing restrictions, she said the focus is currently on in-person education and childcare. 

“Focus is on education. Number one priority,” Lujan Grisham said. “Because we know if we can do that successfully, we know we can do more business openings.”

But it was because of the continued improvement in numbers that officials can even consider starting a conversation. “All of our success is really behavior by New Mexico residents,” Lujan Grisham said.

Lujan Grisham: States need more fiscal help from DC for COVID-19 recovery

During a hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other governors from across the country asked for more aid from the federal government because of the costs incurred from dealing with COVID-19, and said if none comes that the results would be dire. Lujan Grisham, speaking from New Mexico during the online session, described spending $400 million in direct COVID-19 costs including PPE and testing materials, $520 million in costs for K-12 education and much more indirect costs already incurred and an “exponential” loss in tax revenue because of the pandemic. “These are not static data points,” she said. “The pandemic is ongoing, the storm is raging and those winds of fiscal damage are not dying down.”

She said that without more federal aid to “replace and backfill lost revenue” the state would need to make “drastic, difficult cuts to essential services.”

Lujan Grisham said that aid needs to be sent to small businesses and local governments, noting that grants are better for small businesses since those in New Mexico largely cannot afford to add on more debt. She also said the state has delivered more than $2 billion in unemployment benefits, including emergency funds made available by the federal government, but that the trust fund that provides funding from the state is “depleted” and needs help to be replenished.

Poll shows leads for Democrats, including presidential, Senate race

A poll conducted for the Albuquerque Journal recently, with results released this weekend, showed a large lead for former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential race and a sizeable, if smaller, lead for U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján in the U.S. Senate race. The poll—conducted by Research & Polling, Inc., the long-time pollster for the newspaper—also found leads for Democrats in the three congressional races, but the state’s southern congressional district was well within the margin poll’s margin of error. The Journal poll found a 15-point lead for Biden, 54 percent to 39 percent, over incumbent Donald Trump. In 2016, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won New Mexico 48.3 percent to 40 percent over Trump. But Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, had 9.3 percent of the vote.