108 new cases and six new deaths related to COVID-19

The state Department of Health announced 108 additional test positive cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths related to the type of coronavirus. The new test positive cases brings the total number of cases of COVID-19 in the state to 7,364 and the total number of deaths related to the disease to 335. DOH released basic information about the deceased:

A male in his 80s from Bernalillo County was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 70s from McKinley County was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. She was a resident of Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup.A male in his 20s from McKinley County was hospitalized.A male in his 50s from McKinley County was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 70s from Rio Arriba County was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 60s from San Juan County had underlying conditions. The state has processed 183,544 tests as of Thursday, an increase of 4,001 tests since Wednesday.

‘We’re sitting ducks.’ As coronavirus swept through a halfway house, state officials reported nothing.

ALBUQUERQUE — At least 25 residents of one of New Mexico’s largest halfway houses have tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak happened at Diersen Charities in Albuquerque, which houses inmates on their way out of the federal prison system and some who are on federal probation. The facility has enough beds to accommodate more than 100 men and women. “We’re sitting ducks,” said one resident, who declined to give his name for fear of retaliation. 

This story originally appeared at Searchlight New Mexico and is republished with permission. He described a living situation not unlike a prison, with dozens of metal-frame bunk beds stacked a few feet apart.

Members of congress want answers on $3 million contract for possibly substandard masks for Navajo Nation

Members of Congress from New Mexico and Arizona sought answers about a $3 million contract given to a former White House staffer to supply masks to the Navajo Nation. The masks may be substandard, as the Navajo Nation deals with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the country. “The IHS facilities serving the Tribe are in dire need of PPE to combat the virus and ensure medical personnel are protected from potential exposure,” the lawmakers wrote. “Accordingly, we’re also concerned by reports that the federal contract to supply PPE to the Navajo IHS Service Area was awarded to a company established by a former senior official in the White House with limited competitive bidding and no prior federal contracting experience.”

Update: Masks sold by former White House official to Navajo hospitals don’t meet FDA standards

The letter, led by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, requests a number of answers from Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee, the Director of the Indian Health Service. 

The Navajo Nation spreads across parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. As of Tuesday, Navajo Nation health officials had confirmed 4,842 COVID-19 cases and 158 deaths related to the disease.

Election officials prepare to count flood of absentee ballots

State officials have urged New Mexicans to vote via absentee ballots if at all possible, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, it appears, voters have heard this and are responding. New Mexicans are voting by absentee ballot at an unprecedented rate for this June’s primaries. 

As of Tuesday morning, 98,485 voters in the primary had cast ballots through absentees. In 2008, the year that previously had the highest amount of absentee ballots for a primary had just 30,854 absentee ballots cast. That number will continue to grow—as of Tuesday morning, 155,673 voters requested absentee ballots.

What parents should know about coronavirus as kids return to babysitters, day cares and camps

Reopening states after the COVID-19 lockdown raises unnerving questions for working parents who depend on some form of child care, from nannies to day camp.

Instead of coming home with a snotty nose, is your child going to bring back the coronavirus? And how do you know your in-home babysitter or nanny, even your child’s teacher, isn’t a symptom-free spreader?

COVID-19 cases in New Mexico top 7,000

The total tally of COVID-19 cases in the state reached over 7,000 Monday, as state health officials announced 93 new positive cases of COVID-19. The state also announced three deaths related to the illness, bringing the total to 320. 

The state announced some details on the three deaths: 

A male in his 50s from McKinley County. The individual had underlying conditions.A female in her 50s from San Juan County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 50s from San Juan County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.

Roswell in-patient treatment facility that readied to take COVID-19 patients close to reopening

A state-owned drug and alcohol treatment facility in Roswell closed during the pandemic to prepare to help nearby hospitals if COVID-19 patients overloaded the local healthcare system. Fortunately, the facility wasn’t needed, said Jose Gurrola, administrator for NM Rehabilitation Center in Roswell. Gurrola said the state’s Department of Health asked the facility to close so it could be used to quarantine patients who needed monitoring or to handle an overflow if the local hospitals in the southeastern part of the state became overwhelmed. Now, Roswell’s NM Rehabilitation Center is preparing to reopen its in-patient services. Gurrola said the facility will start with its physical rehabilitation unit first for patients who have suffered things such as strokes and traumatic brain injuries, on June 1.

DOH announces 149 new COVID-19 cases, nine new deaths

New Mexico health officials on Sunday announced 149 new positive cases of COVID-19 and an additional nine deaths related to the disease. The new numbers bring the state’s total to 6,943 positive cases and 317 deaths

Due to reporting delays on Sundays, the state also said the numbers are not necessarily a complete picture, but that Monday’s numbers will reflect any missed cases. 

The state reported 213 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, an increase of five over Saturday’s number, and 2,464 people have recovered from the disease, an increase of 107 over Saturday. Some of those who are currently hospitalized for the disease may have come from out of state. 

Below is the breakdown of new cases by county:

12 new cases in Bernalillo County3 new cases in Chaves County7 new cases in Cibola County17 new cases in Doña Ana County1 new case in Eddy County64 new cases in McKinley County2 new cases in Otero County1 new case in Rio Arriba County1 new case in Roosevelt County9 new cases in Sandoval County23 new cases in San Juan County3 new cases in Santa Fe County1 new case in Taos County1 new case in Torrance County3 new cases in Valencia County1 new case among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Otero County Prison Facility

Below is the breakdown of the most recent deaths related to COVID-19:

A male in his 60s from McKinley County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. The individual was a resident of the Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup.A male in his 70s from McKinley County.

As Santa Fe faces budget pinch, property taxes at low rate of what’s allowed

Tax revenues across the state are plummeting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and municipalities are struggling to plug holes in their budgets. For its part, Santa Fe expects a $46 million shortfall for fiscal year 2020, much of it stemming from an immense drop in revenue from the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT). Austerity measures like a spending freeze and the release of temporary employees along with  tapping the city’s reserve funds still leaves Santa Fe officials with about $16.5 million unaccounted for. 

Fiscal year 2021, which begins on July 1, looks even more dire; city officials are expecting a $100 million shortfall. There is another option for raising revenue, however. According to a study by the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) from 2018, Santa Fe charges less than half of what the state allows for property taxes.

175 new COVID-19 cases, six additional deaths amid surge in tests

State health officials announced Saturday 175 additional positive tests for COVID-19 and six additional deaths related to the disease. The state processed more than 10,700 tests, by far its most tests in a single day. The previous highest number, on Friday, was just over 5,616. Of the new cases, 37 were among those held by federal agencies at facilities in Otero County, including 26 held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Otero County Processing Center. The new cases bring the total number of positive COVID-19 tests to 6,795 and the six additional deaths bring the state’s total to 308.