Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/12/21 edition): NM came close to rationing care

In case you didn’t see the past two days: The COVID-19 recap will be moving to a weekly format next week. 

Thursday was the one-year anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 in New Mexico and the anniversary of the first public health emergency. While the tone of a press conference with cabinet-level officials (see links below for coverage) was largely optimistica year into the pandemic, Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase mentioned his “hardest day,” December 14. The state had been looking at ways to expand capacity since late November, as cases and hospitalizations continued to grow. But the hospitalizations just kept growing. And the idea of instituting crisis standards of care and ration of care loomed as a real possibility.

One year of COVID-19 in New Mexico

Shortly before noon on March 11, 2020, the New Mexico Department of Health announced a public health emergency for the growing spread of COVID-19. The same day, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a  pandemic. In New Mexico, the governor and health officials held an in-person press conference in the Roundhouse, with reporters in the room. “If you are sick, stay home. Wash your hands, use antibacterial [soap],” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/11/21 edition)

See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. We began the COVID-19 recap at NM Political Report on March 11 of last year. Since then, we have published hundreds of editions of the recap, including seven days a week for several weeks, then for most weekdays following. In recent weeks, the daily recaps have been getting shorter and shorter, as COVID-19 news starts to slow down. Starting next week, we will go to a weekly format, with a post each Friday recapping the week’s news from around the state.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/10/21 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. We began the COVID-19 recap at NM Political Report on March 11 of last year. Since then, we have published hundreds of editions of the recap, including seven days a week for several weeks, then for most weekdays following. In recent weeks, the daily recaps have been getting shorter and shorter, as COVID-19 news starts to slow down.

Doctors urge lawmakers to pass Healthy Workplaces bill

During a press conference on Friday, two New Mexico doctors urged the state senate and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to support the Healthy Workplaces bill during a press conference on Friday. HB 20 passed the House 36 to 33 after a three-hour debate on Sunday. Republicans, all of whom voted against it, largely argued the bill would hurt small businesses in New Mexico. Eight Democrats also voted against the bill. Related: Bill to mandate paid sick leave passes House

If passed and signed into law, HB 20 would allow all private employees working in the state to earn up to eight days of paid sick leave per year.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/5/21 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 259 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday according to raw data and 16 additional deaths related to the disease. The department reported 177 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Thursday, a new months-long low for the metric.The state is now below 300 daily cases on a seven-day average, the Albuquerque Journal noted.The state’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard said the state has administered 627,665 doses as of Thursday—401,020 primary doses and 226,665 secondary doses. This does not include any doses administered out of the 196,420 received by the Veterans Administration, Indian Health Service or Bureau of Prisons, which each administer the doses directly.As of Monday, 77.8 percent of those on the Navajo Nation had received at least one COVID-19 shot, with 28.1 percent of the population fully vaccinated, per the Navajo Times.

Health officials talk about vaccination efforts, as NM receives more doses

Health officials spoke on Wednesday during a press conference about the rollout of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new emphasis on certain areas of the state for new doses and even the decision by Texas’ governor to end that state’s mask mandate and capacity restrictions. This came ahead of the state announcing 359 new cases of COVID-19 and thirteen additional deaths related to the disease. Nearly 40 of the new cases, 37, were among inmates of the Lea County Correctional Facility, which has seen hundreds of new cases in the last few days. Department of Health Secretary Tracie Collins said the state received 17,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, but would receive few, if any, vaccines in the coming weeks until the company can manufacture more doses. While she did not have the names of the counties available immediately, she said that the vaccines would be sent to ten counties with low vaccine coverage and high ratings on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index.

Legislation to curb governor’s power during emergency moves forward

Legislation that would let voters decide whether to curb the governor’s authority over emergency orders slipped past its second hurdle Wednesday when the House State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted to move it forward. Committee members, who were divided on House Joint Resolution 6, initially stalled it on a 4-4 vote. However, at the urging of a sponsor, Democratic Rep. Daymon Ely of Albuquerque, the committee then voted 7-1 to move it to the House Judiciary Committee with no recommendation for approval. Rep. Georgene Louis, D-Albuquerque, the committee’s chairwoman, cast the lone vote against the move. Under HJR 6, voters would decide whether they want to add a new section to the state constitution to set limits on the length of time a governor’s emergency order can remain in effect without legislative approval.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/4/21 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 359 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 37 at the Lea County Correctional Facility. The state also reported 13 additional deaths related to the disease. As of Wednesday, 195 people were hospitalized in New Mexico for the disease.Health officials spoke about the state’s vaccination efforts and about keeping an eye on Texas as they are poised to stop all COVID-19 capacity restrictions and the state’s mask mandate.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (3/3/21 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 of New Mexico reported 247 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and 11 additional deaths related to the disease. The number of those hospitalized for COVID-19 rose to 199. The state reported 2,710,151 test cumulative test results as of Tuesday, an increase of 10,359 over Monday’s total.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke to The Washington Post in a live webcast about the state’s COVID-19 relief and vaccination efforts.