Reset helped but recent ‘uptick’ worrisome, officials say

Although cases of COVID-19 dropped due to what Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham calls the “reset,” she encouraged the state to “stay the course” through the holidays. New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, who joined Lujan Grisham remotely for the press conference aired over social media Wednesday, said the “reset really did work.” “We […]

Reset helped but recent ‘uptick’ worrisome, officials say

Although cases of COVID-19 dropped due to what Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham calls the “reset,” she encouraged the state to “stay the course” through the holidays.

New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, who joined Lujan Grisham remotely for the press conference aired over social media Wednesday, said the “reset really did work.”

“We flattened the curve. It got flat. We know the reset helped a great deal and Thanksgiving helped because people were less mobile,” he said.

But, Scrase said, the state is seeing an uptick, which he called “worrisome.”

“We cannot take on another 100 patients at this point in time. That uptick happened in all five regions of the state,” he said.

In addition, because of the two week delay in positive cases and the two week delay after that for hospitalizations and the two week delay beyond that for deaths, Scrase said the hospital delivery system is “absolutely bracing itself.”

“Hospitalizations will continue to go up for the next two weeks,” he said. “Deaths will continue to go up for the next two weeks.”

The state Department of Health announced early on Wednesday that the state has formally shifted to a crisis standard of care. This doesn’t mean every single hospital is full, and the need for hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators changes on an hourly basis, Scrase has said.

Related: NM allows crisis standards of care, pauses elective surgeries

Scrase and Lujan Grisham encouraged more individuals to get tested for COVID-19. They said that the number of people seeking COVID-19 testing has gone down. The more people get tested, the more test positive cases can be detected to reduce the spread.

Lujan Grisham equated getting tested for the respiratory illness with helping the state’s economy.

“We need more New Mexicans to get tested so we can track this data to isolate positive cases so we know where there are outbreaks. We’re expanding testing opportunities and efforts but we’re seeing a decline in New Mexicans getting tested. The more we drive down the positivity rates, the more counties go into yellow and green,” she said, referring to the red to green county maps that now determine when individual counties can lift some restrictions.

As of now only one county, San Miguel County, is in yellow, while the rest are in red.

Lujan Grisham went over the pandemic relief that is available currently for businesses and residents struggling financially because of the pandemic. 

The deadline for the grant applications for the $100 million available for small businesses closes December 15. She said about 7,600 businesses have applied for grants totaling nearly $80 million.

The $1,200 check available for individuals living in the state who are on or have been on Unemployment Insurance will be distributed in the middle of next week, she said.

“We know there is real financial insecurity,” she said.  

There is also housing assistance available for emergency housing support with $15 million set aside during the New Mexico second special session in November for that need. Applications for that opened Thursday.

Lujan Grisham said the state has fewer hospital beds than the average per capita for the U.S. The state also has a population with a greater percentage who are at higher risk, she said.

She encouraged the public to seek out curbside or delivery services and to visit no more than three essential establishments, such as a doctor appointment, a grocery store or fueling up, on a daily basis. She also encouraged workers who can telecommute to do so.

“Avoid gatherings, wear masks. I’m here alone, it’s just good practice, I wear my mask,” she said from a room inside the governor’s mansion.

Lujan Grisham said a vaccine is coming and could arrive in the state as early as next week.

But, there are distribution and logistical issues and the number of 17,500 vaccines expected to arrive in the state have to be divided into two because to be fully effective, the initial vaccine from Pfizer requires two shots.

The first to receive the shots will be healthcare workers and congregate care workers and residents, Lujan Grisham said.

Scrase said the provider community had asked him to address the fact that now would be a good time to fill out forms to make clear the scope of treatment individuals want when at the end of their lives. The information on getting those forms can be found at www.NMMOST.org.

“It’s a good time. You don’t want to put your family in a position where they have to decide. Be clear about what we want at the end of life,” he said.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will call the Legislature into a special session this summer to address public safety legislation that did…
Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized its controversial public lands rule on Thursday. This rule is controversial because it allows for conservation leasing…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury announced a bill on Thursday that would, if enacted, establish judicial ethics to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Judicial Ethics…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
New Mexico Voices for Children has new leadership

New Mexico Voices for Children has new leadership

New Mexico Voices for Children, an organization that focuses on tax policy and how it impacts children in poverty, has new leadership. Gabrielle Uballez…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report