NM has record high number of deaths, nearly 2,500 new COVID-19 cases

New Mexico public health officials reported 2,468 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 additional deaths related to the disease. The 33 deaths were the most reported in a single day during the pandemic. New Mexico has reported at least 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 for five consecutive days, including one day of more than 3,600 cases last week. DOH reported some details on each of the newly reported deaths. A female in her 60s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions.A second female in her 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions who was a resident of The Rio at Las Estancias facility in Albuquerque.A female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque.A second female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque.A third female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque.A fourth female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.A male in his 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque.A female in her 90s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque.A female in her 60s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A second female in her 60s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A third female in her 60s from Chaves County who had underlying conditions.A male in his 60s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 70s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 50s from Cibola County.A male in his 80s from Cibola County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 50s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized.A female in her 60s from Doña Ana County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Casa de Oro Center in Las Cruces.A male in his 80s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 60s from Eddy County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 70s from Lea County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the White Sands Healthcare facility in Hobbs.A female in her 80s from Lea County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the White Sands Healthcare facility in Hobbs.A male in his 80s from Lea County who had underlying conditions.A female in her teens from McKinley County who had underlying conditions.A male in his 40s from Sandoval County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 60s from Sandoval County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 100s from Sandoval County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Palmilla Senior Living facility in Albuquerque.A female in her 50s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 60s from San Juan County.A male in his 70s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A second male in his 70s from San Juan County who was a resident of the Aztec Healthcare facility in Aztec.A male in his 80s from San Juan County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the San Juan Center in Farmington.A male in his 90s from San Juan County who was a resident of the Aztec Healthcare facility in Aztec.A male in his 90s from Taos County who had underlying conditions.

NM Supreme Court again faced with COVID-19 in prisons, Guv says there is not much else that can be done

As the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths in New Mexico continue to increase throughout the state and the state is halfway through a two week stay-at-home order, criminal justice advocates continue to push Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to do more to reduce prison populations. 

There have been two attempts to get the courts involved, but the latest legal challenge, a class-action lawsuit, was dismissed last month. The judge in that case ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction to weigh-in because the inmate plaintiffs did not show that they had exhausted other remedies like an appeal through the New Mexico Department of Corrections.   

Now, the plaintiffs—two advocacy groups and nearly a dozen inmates—are taking the issue to the Supreme Court for a second time, albeit with a different ask of the justices. 

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association asked the state Supreme Court to intervene and compel Lujan Grisham and her corrections department to broaden their scope of how to limit prison populations in light of COVID-19. Those two groups ultimately failed to convince the New Mexico Supreme Court that inmates were subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of the U.S. Constitution, and to compel Lujan Grisham and the Department of Corrections to do more than release inmates 30 days early. 

For her part, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order that essentially expanded an already existing provision and allowed some inmates out 30 days before their scheduled release date. The qualifications for early release under Lujan Grisham’s executive order are narrow and prompted groups like the public defender’s office, the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the ACLU to call for things like expedited parole for certain inmates and allowing some inmates to finish their sentence at home. 

‘Getting really tricky to figure out where people can go’

Faegre Drinker, an international law firm, joined with Albuquerque-based attorney Ryan Villa to represent the plaintiffs in the class action suit that may be heard by the state’s high court. 

The question before the court will not be whether or not the inmates are subjected to cruel and unusual punishment or even if the state has done enough to limit prison populations. Instead, justices would decide whether a district court judge can hear a case before all other options have been exhausted. 

In a statement, Faegre Drinker attorney Chris Casolaro said time is running out for inmates facing the risk of COVID-19 as infection rates in prisons are rising, nearly every day. 

“Coronavirus cases continue to surge in New Mexico, putting incarcerated people in far greater danger than they already were,” Casolaro said.

NM officials report more than 2k new COVID-19 cases, 25 new deaths

The number of COVID-19 cases continued to skyrocket Saturday after state health officials reported 2,353 new cases and 25 related deaths. According to the update by health officials, there are 825 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and 28,574 have been deemed recovered from the disease. 

Bernalillo County again significantly outpaced all other counties in terms of newly reported cases, with 647. The new cases also included two federal detainees at the Cibola County Correctional Center. In total, there have been 79,440 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Mexico and 1,350 reported deaths.   

The more than 2,000 new cases by county are below. 

647 new cases in Bernalillo County3 new cases in Catron County118 new cases in Chaves County57 new cases in Cibola County3 new cases in Colfax County85 new cases in Curry County2 new cases in De Baca County291 new cases in Doña Ana County72 new cases in Eddy County17 new cases in Grant County3 new cases in Guadalupe County1 new case in Hidalgo County113 new cases in Lea County31 new cases in Lincoln County4 new cases in Los Alamos County51 new cases in Luna County212 new cases in McKinley County1 new case in Mora County26 new cases in Otero County15 new cases in Quay County27 new cases in Rio Arriba County20 new cases in Roosevelt County149 new cases in Sandoval County127 new cases in San Juan County7 new cases in San Miguel County121 new cases in Santa Fe County10 new cases in Sierra County16 new cases in Socorro County16 new cases in Taos County21 new cases in Torrance County85 new cases in Valencia County2 new cases among individuals being held by federal agencies at the Cibola County Correctional Center

Most of the newly reported deaths were in Doña Ana County, including a male in his 20s with underlying conditions. The breakdown of the newly reported deaths, by county are below. 

A female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized, had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque.A male in his 80s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 90s from Cibola County who had underlying conditions.A male in his 20s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 40s from Doña Ana County.

Once the Wild West, Las Vegas is now the wired West as parents and kids cope with a life lived online.

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — “I don’t like school, because it’s not real,” declared Colin Atman, age 6. The first-grader had a good point. Before the pandemic, Colin could dash around his Las Vegas school playground with his friends James and Damian, playing tag or a game called zombie. “I was, of course, more into zombie,” he clarified. 

That all screeched to a halt in March, when COVID-19 arrived in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham halted in-person education, and Colin had to switch to virtual learning. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, he was still running around, with his hair gelled into a 4-inch mohawk and wearing a T-shirt decorated with glowing green skeletons.

Nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 cases, 23 additional deaths

The state Department of Health reported nearly 3,000 newly found cases of COVID-19 and 23 newly reported deaths related to the disease. Of the new cases, over one-third, 1,005, were from Bernalillo County. Seven other counties had 100 or more cases: Doña Ana County (281), Sandoval County (191), Santa Fe County (170), Valencia County (169), Chaves County (164), McKinley County (131) and San Juan County (100). DOH found at least one case in 32 of the state’s 33 counties. Additionally, state health officials reported two new cases among those held by federal agencies at the Otero County Processing Center and 19 cases among those held by the state Department of Corrections.

Gov. Lujan Grisham announces special session date, plans on a $300 million relief package

During a weekly news conference with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham about COVID-19, the governor covered the usual topics and encouraged people to stay home and wear masks. 

But likely the biggest news was that Lujan Grisham has a date planned for a special legislative session. 

“I’m happy to announce right now that the special session I will call, will be called for this coming Tuesday right before Thanksgiving,” Lujan Grisham said. “We’ve spent the last several days working with legislators, both chambers, both sides of the aisle, to work on those details.”

Lujan Grisham’s office announced last week that she planned on calling on legislators to meet and arrange for extra financial support for New Mexicans. 

During this week’s news conference, Lujan Grisham said she wants to see $300 million from the New Mexico CARES Act go to unemployment benefits, housing grants and grants for small businesses that have been impacted by the public health order. 

“We want to get this relief out to New Mexicans. They need unemployment, they need housing assistance and businesses need grants,” Lujan Grisham said. That gives us a day to get the processes well underway on that Wednesday before Thanksgiving so that the Monday when we get back we’re pushing money out the door. It’s critical that we do that.”

As Thanksgiving approaches, New Mexico is also seeing a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases and related deaths.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (11/20/20 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 yet another record number of COVID-19 cases on Thursday, this time with more than 3,600 new cases. The state also announced twelve additional deaths, which brought the total deaths to over 1,300.The youngest New Mexican to die to COVID-19 happened on Tuesday when a 12-year-old died, the Albuquerque Journal reported.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the Legislature will enter a special session on Tuesday to address COVID-19 financial relief. Read more here.The governor asked local law enforcement to help enforce the state’s public health orders as cases continue to increase statewide, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.The state Department of Health will open the Gibson Medical Center as a limited care facility for those who are recovering from COVID-19, KOB-TV reported.New Mexico received refrigerated “mortuary trailers” to store the deceased, KRQE-TV reported.The closure of grocery stores in areas outside of Albuquerque for multiple COVID-19 cases has led to some anxiety in those communities, KOB-TV reported.Residents, including the mayor, of Carlsbad want the local Albertsons grocery store to reopen, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.Public Education Department Secretary Ryan Stewart issued a statement on the reports of noncompliance with COVID-19 safety protocols at schools in Gallup McKinley Schools:“We take all of these things very seriously, and we continue to follow up on reports received through the PED’s COVID-19 Safety Complaint Portal.

State reports more than 3,600 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths

New Mexico Department of Health officials announced 3,674 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, blowing past the record-setting 2,897 cases that were reported just Wednesday. 

Several counties reported new records in single-day increases in cases of the disease. Over a thousand new cases were identified in Bernalillo County alone, and 502 new cases were reported in Doña Ana County. Three other counties had more than 200 new cases: Sandoval County (270), Santa Fe County (266) and McKinley County (209). Four other counties reported more than 100 new cases: Lea County (156), San Juan County (146), Valencia County (136) and Chaves County (110). 

Seventy new cases were identified among inmates held by the New Mexico Corrections Department, and eight new cases were identified among inmates held by the federal government at Cibola County Correctional Center. DOH also reported 12 new deaths related to COVID-19.

WATCH: Gov. Lujan Grisham’s 11/19 COVID-19 press conference

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state officials held their regular press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday. The press conference came as cases in the state continue to grow and the governor ordered a two-week shutdown for nonessential businesses that began on Monday. Read our recap of the press conference here.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (11/19/20 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. Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (11/18/20 edition)The massive increase in COVID-19 cases shows no signs of slowing. The state set a new record with 2,897 newly reported cases on Wednesday, which represented just over 25 percent of all of the test results announced. The state also has a high number of deaths, with more in November than in any month so far—with two weeks to go.