Eight new positive COVID-19 cases, including first in southern and western New Mexico. Total is 43

With the state’s announcement of 43 people total who have tested positive for COVID-19, the virus has now been detected in southern and western New Mexico for the first time. The state announced eight new positive tests on Friday. Update (3/21): State DOH reports 14 new COVID-19 cases; total of 57

A male in his 20s tested positive in Doña Ana County and a male in his 30s tested positive in McKinley County, the first in those counties

 The other new cases include:

A female in Bernalillo County in her teensTwo males in Bernalillo County in their 40sA female in Sandoval County in her teensA male in Sandoval County in his 80sA female in Taos County in her 70s. Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 43 positive tests for COVID-19:

Bernalillo County: 23Doña Ana County: 1McKinley County: 1Sandoval County: 6San Miguel County: 1Santa Fe County: 7​​Socorro County: 2Taos County: 2

The state has processed 3,814 tests for COVID-19 as of Friday. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
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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.

Two new cases of COVID-19 brings state to 23 positive tests

Two new positive tests of COVID-19 have been found in New Mexico, increasing the number of overall cases to 23. The state Department of Health announced a man in his 50s in Taos County and a man in his 40s in Santa Fe County tested positive for COVID-19, a disease caused by a coronavirus. Update (3/18): Five new cases of COVID-19, one case without a known link

This is the first positive test of COVID-19 in Taos County so far. Previous test positive cases have been in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Socorro and Santa Fe counties. Including the two cases from Tuesday morning, the positive tests are in:

Bernalillo County: 14​Sandoval County: 2​​Santa Fe County: 4​​​Socorro County: 2​Taos County: 1

The state says 1,272 people have been tested so far. 

The Department of Health is actively investigating the new cases, including contact-tracing and swabbing symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases, according to the news release.

Decades after it was discovered, pollution continues migrating beneath Socorro

SOCORRO, NEW MEXICO—Just north of Socorro, a squat, square building sits on the west side of Interstate-25. There’s a gate across the driveway, but it’s wide open. And it’s easy enough to drive right onto the Eagle Picher Carefree Battery Superfund site. There are signs of other visitors, too: Fresh graffiti graces the walls, inside and out, and a wooden pulpit poses more questions than it can answer. Rain has poured through holes in the ceiling, pooling on the concrete slab.

Augustin Plains Ranch order released, meetings scheduled on controversial water project

A few weeks ago, we reported on a proposal by Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC to build a pipeline and pump 54,000 acre-feet of water each year from the aquifer to the Albuquerque area. The 37 wells would all be in Catron County near the town of Datil. Now in its third iteration, the application is pending before the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, which administers the state’s water resources. In July, the state agency canceled a pre-hearing meeting. But last week, it released the application’s scheduling order, which includes information about the project and the process, as well as upcoming public meetings.

Rural residents continue decade-long battle against San Augustin Ranch water project

Driving on Highway 60 across the Plains of San Agustin, it’s easy to dwell on the past. The floor of the valley cradled a lake during the Pleistocene, and windmills and stock tanks fleck the green expanse that stretches for some 50 miles, west of Magdalena and toward the Gila National Forest. But it’s not the past Catron County Commissioner Anita Hand is worried about. It’s the future. A decade ago, her brother and father spotted a legal notice in the newspaper announcing that the ranch next door planned to drill 37 wells into the aquifer that provides water for the area.

Scam costs city of Albuquerque $400,000

The City of Albuquerque was hit with a scam, costing the city at least $400,000. That’s according to the State Auditor, who reported the state’s largest city was the second state entity to be hit with the same fraud scheme this week. Earlier this week, the State Auditor reported the scheme resulted in a loss of $200,000 for a construction project at the San Antonio Elementary School in Socorro. Both the Socorro Consolidated School District and the City of Albuquerque contacted the State Auditor’s Office after they learned of the scam. The scheme involves a request by scammers to request to change vendor payment information.

State remains silent on lead poisoning data

In December, Reuters published a map on childhood lead poisoning across the nation. The story and accompanying map, “Off the Charts: The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than Flint,” looked at where children were tested for lead and how many had high levels of the metal in their blood. Severe lead poisoning can lead to seizures, coma and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For children, there is no such thing as a safe exposure to lead, which causes permanent neurological damage and behavioral disorders. Even though lead paint and lead additive in gasoline were banned decades ago, the ongoing Flint, Michigan emergency highlighted that lead poisoning is still a problem in the United States.