Coalition of Native women urge the public to keep wearing masks

On Thursday the state ended COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates, but Indigenous leaders with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women urge the public to keep wearing the mask. Angel Charley, Laguna and executive director of CSVANW, said this is a safety precaution. “It requires a lot of sacrifice from all of us as individuals; it’s how we made this much progress,” she said. “But until we reach herd immunity, until there is vaccination access for kids under 12, until there is true equitable access to vaccinations then we’re asserting this is a safety precaution.” 

The World Health Organization recommended that vaccinated people continue to wear masks, especially in light of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is more contagious than other variants. Charley said the Navajo Nation is following WHO guidance and is continuing its mask mandate.

Albuquerque looking at the COVID-19 response through an equity lens

Immigrants, including those who lack U.S. citizenship documentation, can get tested for COVID-19 and seek medical care at a public hospital free of charge. A visit to the hospital will not result in a charge against an undocumented immigrant, according to Michelle Melendez, director of Albuquerque’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. She also said social security numbers will not be gathered. That message was one part of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s Facebook live press conference Monday to address equity, one of Keller’s signature concerns as mayor. When Keller took office in 2017, he created the Office of Equity and Inclusion to address systemic racism in the city and selected Melendez to lead it.

Group holds anti-abortion protest despite Guv’s stay-at-home order

A group of anti-abortion protestors gathered Friday in front of University of New Mexico Center for Reproductive Health in defiance of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stay-at-home orders.

Lujan Grisham has issued stay-at-home orders to protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have said that without a vaccine, the only way to protect lives is to stay at home and avoid potentially spreading the disease. The public health orders also state that groups of more than five cannot congregate and residents are encouraged to wear masks when they do venture out for groceries or other essentials.

Lack of PPE hinders possible help in expected hospital surge in Las Cruces

A group of home health organizations said they could help with the expected surge of COVID-19 patients in Las Cruces if they could find personal protective equipment. Adrian Rodriguez, who heads three home health organizations in Las Cruces and El Paso, said he has been trying to order personal protective equipment (PPE) but because of the severe shortage in PPE from national stockpiles, the lack of infrastructure has created a crisis. “We’re not trying to get anything from the national stockpile,” Rodriguez told NM Political Report. “It’s not worth trying to get. Mostly it’s going to hospitals.

As pandemic continues, abortion groups feel greater strain

With the coronavirus pandemic worsening — the state announced 40 new positive tests of COVID-19 Thursday and an additional death — access to abortion care gets increasingly complicated.

Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who supports reproductive health care, has allowed abortion clinics to remain open in New Mexico during the public health emergency. But abortion access has become more challenging in many areas of the country and that affects New Mexico, according to advocates.

Random racist incident in Las Cruces leads to a volunteer response

A racist tag left on a woman’s wall in Las Cruces led to a neighbor’s response. The tagging, a backward swastika and a crossed-out Star of David, were spray painted on a wall that separates Wanda Saip Ray’s backyard from the railroad tracks on the western edge of Las Cruces. Saip Ray said she wasn’t aware of the graffiti because she hadn’t been on the other side of the wall in a while. But while taking a walk with her husband last Wednesday, Las Cruces resident Megan McQueen saw the two tags. She wanted to do something but still practice social distancing.

Health officials warn of measles’ rise alongside numbers of unvaccinated

While New Mexico has so far been spared from the latest outbreak of measles, the increasing number of local schoolchildren who haven’t been vaccinated is cause for concern as the highly contagious disease afflicts surrounding states. The Santa Fe New Mexican last week cited figures from the Department of Health showing a 17 percent increase since 2012 in the number of vaccine exemptions requested by parents. From the article:
New Mexico law allows parents to request vaccination exemptions for their children based on medical need or religious beliefs. The exemptions registered with the Department of Health cover all vaccines, not specifically measles. But the recent measles outbreak is reason to raise awareness, said state Health Secretary Retta Ward.