The state Department of Health announced Thursday 255 additional COVID-19 cases which includes a new uptick in cases in McKinley County. McKinley County, which has grappled with one of the highest numbers of cases of COVID-19 in the state, had eight cases Wednesday and low double digit numbers Monday and Tuesday but the county had 35 additional cases Thursday. Only Bernalillo County, with 63 new cases, had a higher total, but Bernalillo County has a population that is nearly 10 times larger. The newly confirmed cases represented 3.6 percent of the 7,026 tests processed since Wednesday. Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said in a press conference Thursday that the state aimed to keep that number below 5 percent, while Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham hoped it could drop below 3 percent.
A second medical cannabis company has filed a petition asking a state district judge to invalidate rules recently enacted by the New Mexico Department of Health.
Pecos Valley Production, a medical cannabis company with dispensaries in the southern part of the state, filed a petition Monday in state district court calling for an annulment of regulatory rules that lawyers for the company called “arbitrary and capricious.”
The petition from Pecos Valley argues similar points as one filed last week, on behalf of cannabis producer and manufacturer Ultra Health. Both petitions are filed under the same case. Lawyers for Ultra Health, one of which is Brian Egolf, who also serves as the state’s Speaker of the House, argued that the Medical Cannabis Program and the DOH failed to show reasoning for new rules. Ultra Health’s lawyers also accused the state of copying regulations from other states that have a medical cannabis program like Oregon and Colorado.
The petition from Pecos Valley Production also accused the state of adopting rules from other states instead of properly consulting with medical cannabis producers in New Mexico. “These industry participants are well versed in the day-to-day operations of the New Mexico medical cannabis industry and therefore are more likely to provide relevant New Mexico specific evidence than the standards cut and pasted from other states,” the second petition reads.
A high-profile medical cannabis producer filed a petition in a state district court last week, asking a judge to invalidate rules recently put in place by the New Mexico Department of Health.
In the petition, lawyers for cannabis producer Ultra Health argued that many of the recently adopted rules regarding plant and product testing, product labels and facility safety standards are “arbitrary and capricious.”
Last year, the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, which is part of the DOH, started the rule change process with a series of public meetings, which carried over to early this year. The rules, which range from pesticide and chemical testing to reciprocity for already approved cannabis patients from other states, went into effect earlier this month. But Ultra Health’s petition focuses on the new standards for producers, some of which the petition says would increase the financial burdens for patients.
“Producers, who already pay well over $100,000 per year for their license and are precluded by federal law from taking any income tax deductions, will have to pay for the increased testing burden and will pass along the costs to patients,” the petition reads.
A DOH spokesman wouldn’t say if or when the department would respond to the request to annul the new rules.
“The Department of Health does not comment on pending litigation,” DOH spokesman David Morgan said.
Arguably a perennial thorn in the side of the department, Ultra Health and its CEO Duke Rodriguez have filed numerous legal actions against the state over issues like the legality of displaying a cannabis plant at the state fair and increasing the number of plants producers can grow. Brian Egolf, who also serves as the state’s speaker of the House, is one of two lawyers who filed the petition.
Testing and labels
The new rules from the DOH spell out specific standards for testing plants for fungus, pesticides and heavy metals. But in the petition, Ultra Health’s lawyers argued that the department failed to show evidence that the safe level of contaminants is based on studies or science.
“While Petitioner Ultra Health agrees that some testing is necessary to protect the safety of cannabis patients, DOH’s rules do not draw the necessary connection between the arbitrarily chosen testing parameters and specific measurements of patient safety,” the petition states.
The petition also asserts that the DOH simply copied regulations from other states like Colorado and Oregon, where both medical and recreational-use cannabis are legal.
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.
The state announced 164 new cases of COVID-19, including seven new individuals held in federal agencies at the Otero County Prison Facility. The new cases, announced through the state Department of Health, bring the total to 5,662 cases of the type of coronavirus that causes respiratory illness. The state also announced 11 new deaths related to the virus, which brings the total of deaths to 253.
There are 223 individuals hospitalized for the virus in the state, an increase of 14. In a press conference on Friday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said 52 of these patients are on ventilators. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico.
The state announced six additional deaths related to COVID-19 and 153 new confirmed cases of the respiratory illness during a live press conference Friday. The highest single-day increase of confirmed cases took place Thursday, with 169 test positive cases. The number announced on Friday indicates a slight decrease from Thursday’s new cases. With the six additional deaths the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in New Mexico is 84, as of Friday. The additional positive cases brings the total number to 2,521.
The state announced 87 additional positive tests for COVID-19 and two additional deaths related to the respiratory illness, which brought the total number of related deaths in New Mexico to 53. Update (4/19/2020): Two additional COVID-19-related deaths, more than 100 hospitalized
The total number of test positive cases are now 1,798. As of late Saturday, there were 92 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19, four fewer than Friday’s announcement. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico. This number does not include New Mexicans who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been transferred to a hospital out of state.
New Mexico state health officials announced 62 additional positive tests for COVID-19 and five additional deaths related to the respiratory illness late Tuesday. This brings the total number of test positive cases of COVID-19 in the state to 1,407 and the total number of deaths to 36. Update (4/15/2020): DOH: 80 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths
As of Tuesday, there are 82 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico. This number does not include state residents who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been transferred to a hospital out of state.
State health officials announced 62 new COVID-19 test positive cases Monday, raising the total to 686 for the state. Update (4/7/2020): DOH: Clusters at two pueblos; total NM COVID-19 cases nears 800, deaths reach 13
The state Department of Health announcement on Monday includes three additional positive cases from La Vida Llena long-term care facility in Albuquerque, where one additional resident and two additional staff have now tested positive for the type of coronavirus. The amount of deaths related to COVID-19 in the state remains at 12. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:
16 new cases in Bernalillo County1 new case in Chaves County1 new case in Doña Ana County2 new cases in Grant County4 new cases in McKinley County25 new cases in San Juan County11 new cases in Sandoval County2 new cases in Santa Fe County
Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 686 positive tests for COVID-19:
The state announced 51 new test positive cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total in the state to 543 test positive cases and one additional death related to the virus. Update (4/5): 81 new COVID-19 cases in New Mexico, 1 more death
A man in his 60s from McKinley County with COVID-19 died Saturday. He had been hospitalized and had underlying medical conditions, according to the state. This brings the number of deaths related to COVID-19 in New Mexico to 11. The announcement Saturday includes additional positive tests from the La Vida Llena long-term care facility in Albuquerque, where five additional residents and eight additional staff members have now tested positive for the type of coronavirus, according to the state.