State announces 69 new cases and five COVID-19 related deaths

On Sunday, state health officials announced five new deaths related to COVID-19 and 69 new cases of the illness in a partial update.The state said the update is missing results from private labs, due to a “technical delay.” The missing results will be included in Monday’s update. 

The state’s total of COVID-19 cases is now at 7,689 cases reported since the pandemic began. There are now 356 deaths recorded in the state related to the illness. Four of the five new deaths were in San Juan County, the fifth death was in McKinley County. 

The five new deaths were: 

A female in her 80s from McKinley County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 60s from San Juan County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 80s from San Juan County.

COVID-19 cases exceed 7,600, number of deaths crosses 350

The state announced 134 additional test positive COVID-19 cases and seven additional related deaths on Saturday. The largest number of new cases were again in the northwest region of the state, with 58 new cases in McKinley County and 23 in San Juan County. All seven of the deaths were residents from McKinley and San Juan county residents. The new cases bring the total number of new cases to 7,624. The total number of related deaths is now 351 in the state, according to the state Department of Health.

Nursing homes fought federal emergency plan requirements for years. Now, they’re coronavirus hot spots.

On Dec. 15, 2016, the nation’s largest nursing home lobby wrote a letter to Donald Trump, congratulating the president-elect and urging him to roll back new regulations on the long-term care industry.

One item on the wish list was a recently issued emergency preparedness rule. It required nursing homes to draw up plans for hazards such as an outbreak of a new infectious disease.

Trump’s election, the American Health Care Association, or AHCA, wrote, had demonstrated that voters opposed “extremely burdensome” rules that endangered the industry’s thin profit margins.

How much did state Senate candidates raise and where did they spend it?

Planned Parenthood, through its various PACs, is spending $390,000 on the New Mexico primary, and the bulk of that on three races. Sarah Taylor-Nanista, executive director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Action Fund, said the nonprofit organization is “laser focused” on the progressives running against the seven Democratic incumbents who voted against HB 51 last year. HB 51 would have repealed a 1969 abortion law that abortion rights supporters worry will become law again if Roe v. Wade is overturned. But of the seven, there are three races in particular where Planned Parenthood is spending the bulk of its money. Those are Neomi Martinez-Parra’s race against state Sen. John Arthur Smith for Senate District 35; Siah Correa Hemphill’s fight to unseat state Sen. Gabriel “Gabe” Ramos for Senate District 28; and Pam Cordova’s challenge against state Sen. Clemente Sanchez for Senate District 30.

133 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, nine additional deaths

The state Department of Health announced an additional 133 cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths, just two days away from reopening large classes of businesses. The newly announced totals bring the total number of cases in New Mexico to 7,493 and the total number of deaths to 344. 

McKinley County once again had the most cases in the state, with 58, while DOH reported double-digit numbers of new cases in only two other counties. Four of the newly announced deaths came from McKinley County, among the hardest hit areas of the entire nation. Health officials again provided some details on each individual who died related to COVID-19, though they did not disclose the specific underlying medical condition, only if a known underlying condition existed. The newly announced deaths were:

A male in his 60s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Robin House Assisted Living Center in Albuquerque.A male in his 90s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 40s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 80s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A second female in her 80s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 90s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Little Sisters of the Poor facility in Gallup.A male in his 50s from Sandoval County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 50s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 70s from Valencia County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.

Indoor dining at restaurants, more to open June 1 as state eases more restrictions

New Mexico’s next public health order will be a big step toward reopening businesses throughout the state, including allowing gym attendance, indoor dining at restaurants at limited capacity, limited opening of hair salons and barbershops and more. The public health order, which the governor’s office said will be executed and disseminated on Friday, will go into effect on June 1. “It is an opportunity for our businesses to get engaged again in the economy,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. However, the governor said and state health officials warned on Thursday that this is not an excuse to ignore safety measures and that masks will still be required in public. “As businesses did their part to protect New Mexicans, we have to protect businesses that we continue to expand in terms of opening the economy,” Lujan Grisham said.

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.

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

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. The Indian Health Service acknowledged on Wednesday that 1 million respirator masks it purchased from a former Trump White House official do not meet Food and Drug Administration standards for “use in healthcare settings by health care providers.”

The IHS statement calls into question why the agency purchased expensive medical gear that it now cannot use as intended. The masks were purchased as part of a frantic agency push to supply Navajo hospitals with desperately needed protective equipment in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. ProPublica revealed last week that Zach Fuentes, President Donald Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, formed a company in early April and 11 days later won a $3 million contract with IHS to provide specialized respirator masks to the agency for use in Navajo hospitals.

‘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.

127 new COVID-19 cases, four additional deaths in NM

On Wednesday, state health officials announced an additional 127 cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico and four additional deaths related to the disease. With the new cases the total number of cases found by the state Department of Health reached 7,252 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and 329 deaths related to COVID-19. The majority of the newly reported cases came from San Juan and McKinley counities, which combined account for 70 of the new cases. Two of the newly announced deaths came from McKinley County, one from San Juan County and one from Bernalillo County, the state announced. The state provided some details on each case, though it does not identify which underlying medical condition any had ahead preceding their death.