New website connects volunteers who can help healthcare providers during pandemic

After seeing a need to support healthcare providers during the public health emergency, University of New Mexico medical student David Gangwish created a grassroots organization to help providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gangwish created Corona Care NM, which connects volunteers with healthcare providers. The volunteers help with childcare, pet sitting or household chores such as cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping while providers are working in hospitals during the pandemic. Gangwish, who will soon head for a residency in urology, said he got the idea because medical professionals were talking within the field about the problem of managing child care if the public schools closed. The Public Education Department moved to distance learning for the rest of spring semester last week.

Governor orders all those who travel to NM by plane to self-isolate for 14 days

Anyone traveling to New Mexico by air must self-isolate for 14 days or for their time while in New Mexico, whichever is shorter, according to an executive order from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The order says that those who do not self-isolate voluntarily would be subject to involuntary isolation or quarantine by the New Mexico Department of Health. Air travel has already been decimated worldwide by the response to COVID-19. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller called the Albuquerque International Sunport “an absolute ghost town” earlier this week. “Because some individuals infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, travelers may be unaware they are carrying the virus,” Lujan Grisham said in the order.

State announces new public health orders to protect PPE supply

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced two new public health orders from the state Department of Health Wednesday to protect the supply of personal protective equipment for health care workers in the state. The orders are necessary to try to slow the spread COVID-19, a type of coronavirus, according to the state. There has been a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers across the nation and many have taken to Twitter to plead for more. On Monday nurses held up signs in front of an Oakland hospital to protest the need for more personal protective equipment. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
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State announces first death related to COVID-19

The New Mexico Department of Health announced a male, in his late 70s, in Eddy County died after contracting COVID-19. It’s the first reported death in the state related to the disease. The man had multiple, chronic underlying health issues according to the DOH. “This is a tragic day,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. The man entered Artesia General Hospital on Sunday, March 22 and died the same day.

Early childcare centers stay open amid stay-at-home order

Considered front line workers, early childcare workers are exempt from the stay-at-home order Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave Monday. The order, which went into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday, requires businesses not deemed essential to temporarily close to limit activities and reduce the spread of COVID-19, a type of coronavirus. The count of positive tests reached 100 Tuesday, with 17 new cases. But the state considers childcare providers as essential workers because without them, first responders and other government employees who deliver indispensable services might not be able to go to work. Some, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children, say that since childcare workers are being asked to continue to risk catching COVID-19 by working outside the home during the public health emergency, they should receive hazard pay.

Governor issues ‘stay-at-home’ order to slow coronavirus spread

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a stay-at-home order on Monday, joining many other governors across the country as they attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by a coronavirus. The public health order says all non-essential businesses and nonprofit entities will no longer be allowed to have an in-person workforce beginning Tuesday, March 24 until April 10. A full copy of the public health order is at the bottom of this story. And essential entities are directed to reduce in-person workforces as much as possible and adhere to social distancing as much as possible. The governor emphasized the need for social distancing and said it was important for all New Mexicans.

Delays in reproductive health care worry advocates

With delays in reproductive health care already taking place, officials with American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico said it could get worse as the global pandemic of COVID-19 continues. Ellie Rushforth, a reproductive rights attorney for ACLU-NM, sent letters to elected officials Monday urging them to ensure reproductive health care will remain accessible during the public health emergency. The letters, to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, congressional officials and the mayors of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, ask that they consider abortion care, all forms of birth control; STI screening, testing, and treatment; vaginal health and treatment; prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care as essential reproductive services that need to remain accessible. The letters outline immediate steps, including that reproductive health care clinics and outpatient abortion providers be considered, “essential business.”

Lujan Grisham announced a stay-at-home order Monday in an attempt to slow down the spread of COVID-19, a type of coronavirus. As of Monday, March 23, the state has 83 test positive cases, with 18 new ones.

Abortion fund providers say global pandemic causing difficulties

New Mexico abortion fund providers are already seeing impacts as the public health emergency and financial crisis worsens during the COVID-19 global pandemic, according to advocates. A group of abortion fund providers in New Mexico issued a statement Friday to remind elected leaders and others that reproductive healthcare, including abortion, is not elective medicine. In line with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recent statement that any reproductive procedure which, if delayed, will “negatively affect patient health and safety should not be delayed,” Indigenous Women Rising, Mariposa Fund and New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice issued their own statement to tell elected leaders to continue to respect reproductive healthcare for women. All three groups offer funding and other aid for people seeking an abortion. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum also signed the letter.

Guv says preparation, COVID-19 focus needed before special session

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signaled in a letter to legislative leaders Thursday that there will be a special session to deal with the budget situation from plunging oil and gas prices and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But first, Lujan Grisham said she wants new revenue projections, including a sense of what sort of federal aid will be provided to states as the country is gripped and increasingly shut down by the virus. House Republican leadership sent a letter to the governor on Thursday calling for a special session to adjust the budget. And Senate Finance Committee chairman John Arthur Smith told the Albuquerque Journal the state could be facing a billion dollar loss in revenue because of oil and gas prices. But Lujan Grisham said in a letter that her focus is currently on stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and that they need more time to fully assess the economic impacts.

Seven new COVID-19 cases, total in NM now 35

The state announced Thursday seven more people have tested positive for COVID-19, rising the overall number to 35. Update (3/20): Eight new positive COVID-19 cases, including first in southern and western New Mexico. Total is 43

The new cases are four people in Bernalillo, one person in San Miguel and two people in Santa Fe counties. This is the first time COVID-19, a type of coronavirus, has been detected in San Miguel County. So far, the breakdown of cases by county, including the seven new ones announced Thursday are:

Bernalillo County: 20​Sandoval County: 4​San Miguel County: 1​Santa Fe County: 7​​​Socorro County: 2​Taos County: 1

The state says they have processed 2,797 tests.