MON: Flags At Half Staff For Vets And COVID Victims This Memorial Day As N.M. Surpass 7,000 Cases

May 25, 2020

Coronavirus Cases Rise Past 7,000 Monday With Total Deaths At 320KUNM

State health officials said Monday there were 93 additional coronavirus cases in New Mexico and three more people have died.

That pushed the total number of cases in the state to 7,026 and the death toll to 320. Most of the new cases were in San Juan and McKinley counties in northwest New Mexico near the Navajo Nation, which is seeing the brunt of the of the virus.

The three deaths were people in those two counties and McKinley has more than 2,200 cases.

There are also positive cases in 146 people held by federal agencies in four detention facilities and among 43 people held by the New Mexico Corrections Department.

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at 29 congregate living and acute care facilities in the state.

Number Of Coronavirus Cases In New Mexico Nearing 7,000 - Associated Press

Health officials say New Mexico now has nearly 7,000 coronavirus cases. 

State Department of Health officials on Sunday reported 149 additional COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths. That pushes the totals to 6,943 coronavirus cases and 317 deaths. 

Health officials say that six of the nine deaths were in McKinley County with the other three in San Juan County. They say eight of the nine people who died had underlying medical conditions. 

Of the new cases, 64 were reported in McKinley County which now has 2,192 COVID-19 cases. There were 23 news cases in San Juan County and 12 in Bernalillo County, which has an overall total of 1,337 cases.

On the Navajo Nation, which sprawls across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, the number of coronavirus cases rose by 56 Sunday to 4,689, the Navajo Department of Health said. The total number of deaths on the reservation is 156 as of Sunday. 

New Mexico Governor Blocks Plans To Reopen Drive-In TheaterLas Vegas Optic, Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has blocked the reopening of a popular northern New Mexico drive-in movie theater.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the governor's office halted a plan to reopen the Fort Union Drive-In Movie Theater amid the COVID-19 pandemic. City leaders said they had the support of state leaders.

But Lujan Grisham's office told the San Miguel County Emergency Management Department the day before the scheduled reopening and said they didn't have permission.

Health officials say the state has more than 7,000 coronavirus cases and 320 COVID-19 deaths as of Monday. 

Flags Flown At Half Staff For Vets And COVID Victims On Memorial Day - Associated Press

Aside from the standard Memorial Day weekend recognition of military personnel who have lost their lives, flags around the state were ordered to fly at half-staff throughout the holiday weekend and on Monday under state and federal orders meant to honor and mourn those who have died of COVID-19.

Officials in southern New Mexico urged people to stay home for the holiday weekend. 

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima said while it's tempting for residents of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County to cross the state line to visit restaurants, stores and other attractions, he said the commercial activity underway in neighboring El Paso, Texas, doesn't mean the coronavirus threat has gone away.

New Mexico May Elect Historic All-Female US House Delegation - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

New Mexico voters are on the verge of sending a historic all-women U.S. House delegation to Congress, no matter which party wins races. 

And the state's three congresswomen may be all women of color – another milestone. 

Latina and Native American candidates are running in all primaries in each contest and have been among the top fundraisers. 

New Hampshire in 2013 became the first state to have an all-women Congressional delegation, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. But New Mexico could wind up with the largest U.S. House delegation of women or women of color in the nation’s history. 

Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland, who is Laguna Pueblo, is running for re-election for her Albuquerque seat. 

Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who is Mexican American, is running for re-election for her southern New Mexico seat. 

Women in both the Republican and Democratic primaries are running for the open northern New Mexico seat. 

New Mexico Official: Mass Gatherings May Be Out For A Year - Associated Press

A New Mexico state official says gatherings of more than 100 people may not be possible for more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, creating a prospect that sports stadiums, concert halls and conference centers in the state could remain empty for months. 

Tourism Secretary Jen Paul Schroer said it could be a year or 18 months before there's either a vaccine or herd immunity. 

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Schroer spoke Thursday during a webinar on reopening the state's hospitality industry.  

The office of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham concurred.

New Mexico Seeks To Hire Contact Tracers - Associated Press 

New Mexico has put up the help wanted sign in search of people to fill dozens of contact tracing positions.

As health officials monitor the spread of coronavirus around the state, The Health Department and the State Personnel Office began accepting applications Friday to fill 200 to 250 contact tracer positions. 

The hiring will be done virtually, and the work will be done remotely.

Rural Areas, Tribal Lands Hit Hardest By Census Interruption - By Mike Schneider Associated Press

Even though they're neighbors, two New Mexico counties couldn't be further apart in the rate of people answering the 2020 census. 

Los Alamos County, where the atomic bomb was born and many people are highly educated, has one of the nation's highest response rates at 79%. Rio Arriba County, where a language other than English is spoken in over half of homes, is at the bottom at 9%. 

The reason for the difference? Households in Rio Arriba and other rural counties across the U.S. rely on census workers to drop off their questionnaires, which was on hold for a month and a half because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

While the U.S. Census Bureau is restarting that work, leaders in rural America worry it will be difficult to catch up in communities that are already among the toughest to count. 

Ultimately, it could cost New Mexico congressional seats and federal funding for highways, schools and health care that the once-a-decade count divvies up.


New Mexico Republicans Decry Liberal PAC Ad In GOP Primary - By Russell Contreras Associated Press

Republicans in New Mexico are calling on a liberal Super PAC to pull ads that seek to favor one GOP U.S. House candidate over another. 

U.S. House hopeful Yvette Herrell said Sunday she agreed with 125 Republicans who signed a letter and asked her to denounce a new commercial by the Patriot Majority PAC. 

The group began airing commercials Saturday attacking candidate Claire Chase for previous critical social media posts about Trump while praising Herrell for supporting Trump's border wall. 

Critics say Democrats want Chase to lose in the GOP primary because she'd be a tougher candidate against Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in the general election to represent New Mexico's southern district.

Herrell said she agreed with the letter. "Liberal Super PACs have no business getting involved in this primary, and they should stop immediately," she said in a statement.

Spending reports reviewed by The Associated Press show that Patriot Majority PAC bought around $250,000 of ads to influence Republican voters in New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District primary on June 2.

Joe Harvey, Former New Mexico State Senator, Dies At 80  - Associated Press

Joe Harvey, a former Democratic state senator in New Mexico, who also served as Hobbs city manager for 23 years, has died. 

His family said Sunday he died May 8, at his home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. No cause of death was given. He was 80. 

Born in 1939 in Spokane, Washington, Harvey moved to Hobbs after serving in the U.S. Army. 

He worked for Hobbs police and eventually became Hobbs city manager at the age of 28. At the time, Harvey was the youngest city manager in state history. 

He was elected to the state senate in 1984 as a Democrat and served two terms.