MON: State Fair Going Virtual, New Mexico Requires Fast COVID-19 Reports From Employers, + More

Aug 10, 2020

New Mexico State Fair To Go On As Planned But VirtuallyAssociated Press

The New Mexico State Fair is going all virtual.

Organizers in June had decided to cancel the annual event due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, they announced that the fair will instead be held entirely online.

State Fair General Manager Dan Mourning said the event has always been a celebration of innovation and that fair staff had to pivot this year to come up with creative ways to bring the fair home for New Mexico residents.

There will still be 4-H and Future Farmers of America virtual competitions. There will also be online contests in cake decorating, flower arranging, photography and designing a poster for next year's fair.

Video entries for the various competitions will be accepted until Aug. 31.

Musicians who would have performed live at the fair will do so digitally. Vendors will also be selling merchandise on the fair's web page.

Viewers can check out the event on the fair's website and social media channels.

The fair runs from Sept. 14 through Sept. 20.

New Mexico Nursing Homes Prepare For Visits Amid GuidelinesAssociated Press

The New Mexico Health Care Association and New Mexico Center for Assisted Living say the state's new visitation guidance marks a positive step for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Starting Monday, facilities in nearly two-thirds of New Mexico's 33 counties can begin providing additional visitation options by arranging outdoor or open-window meetings.

That includes facilities in Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Sandoval counties. Doña Ana County is not on the list.

The health care groups say visitations will help with patient wellbeing while still considering the health concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

New Mexico health officials reported another 132 COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total to 22,444.

State Requires Fast Reports From Employers On COVID-19 Cases - Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

New Mexico regulators have ordered employers to promptly report coronavirus cases to the state. 

An emergency rule issued by the Environmental Department requires employers to report positive COIVD-19 cases to the department within four hours of being notified of the case. The goal is preventing the spread of COVID-19 beyond the infected employees. 

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the department said that in more than 280 instances, employers were aware of cases at least three days before the department learned of them.

The department said requiring employers to quickly report positive cases means the state will be able to more rapidly respond to workplaces to provide immediate guidance and support to employers. 

The department said the emergency rule will remain in effect for up to 120 days unless a permanent rule is adopted before the end of the 120 days.

The state on Monday reported 132 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing that total to more than 22,40. There were also five more deaths, raising that total to 690. 

State Reports 135 More COVID-19 Cases And Five Additional Deaths - KUNM

New Mexico reported 135 additional COVID-19 cases on Monday and five more deaths.

The state has now had more than 22,400 cases and 690 deaths. Four of the five who died had underlying medical conditions. One was a man in his 20s from Lea County. 

Another man who died was in his 40s was a resident in a longterm care facility in Gallup. State health officials have identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents/and or staff in the past month at 56 such facilities.

There are 127 people hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19 and 9,428 cases are designated as having recovered.

According to the Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard, 35% of the cases are among Native Americans and 42% are among Latinos.

New  Mexico Reports 205 More COVID-19 Cases, 4 More Deaths - Associated Press

Health officials in New Mexico have reported 205 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases with four additional deaths. The latest numbers increase New Mexico's case total to 22,315 and the death toll to at least 685. 

Of the 205 new cases, 49 occurred in Bernalillo County and 30 in Doña Ana County. 

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

According to data gathered by The Associated Press from Johns Hopkins University, The seven-day rolling average of 4.86 daily deaths in New Mexico did not change over the past two weeks as calculated on both July 24 and Aug. 7.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

DA Won't Prosecute New Mexico Park Ranger In Fatal Shooting - Associated Press

The attorney for the family of a Colorado man fatally shot by a U.S. National Park Service ranger in New Mexico said she was disappointed with a district attorney decision to not pursue criminal charges against the ranger. 

Civil rights lawyer Shannon Kennedy said Charles “Gage” Lorentz's parents Kimberly Beck and Travis Lorentz were also disappointed, and that the district attorney had omitted “some key factors” when explaining the decision.

Fifth Judicial District Attorney Dianna Luce announced last week that the actions of Park Ranger Robert Mitchell were "objectively justifiable" during a traffic stop at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. 

Mitchell stopped Lorentz for erratic driving March 21.

Lorentz was traveling from Texas back to his home in Colorado when he stopped in Carlsbad to meet a friend.

A video showed a struggle ensued between the two and Mitchell deployed his stun gun, which failed to subdue Lorentz. Mitchell then can be seen firing his gun twice.

Kennedy filed a wrongful death claim against the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Interior in June. 

They have yet to file a response.

Fire Hits Historic New Mexico Bathhouse, Under Investigation - Associated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

A fire that torched a historic New Mexico bathhouse built in the 1800s remains under investigation. 

Investigators say a blaze Thursday destroyed the building at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa in northern New Mexico after crews battled the fire for hours. 

Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova says the fire could have been worse and might have spread into the main building had crews not subdued it. 

Taos County Fire Marshal James Hampton told the Santa Fe New Mexican that while the walls remain standing, the historic bathhouse will be considered a total loss. 

Ojo Caliente is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The site dates back to the Tewa speaking Pueblo people. 

No injuries were reported.

International Mariachi Conference To Go Virtual Amid Virus - Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

An international mariachi conference that brings student musicians across the country and Mexico to New Mexico will go virtual this year. 

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports organizers with the Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference made the decision to put the gathering online as cases of COVID-19 rise nationwide. 

The conference is still slated for the second week of November, but live performances and in-person classes have been canceled.

The Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference began in 1994. Its mission is to preserve and promote the cultural art forms of Mariachi music and Folkloric dance through educational workshops and performance opportunities for youth and adults.

Navajo Nation Reports 15 More COVID-19 Cases, 2 More DeathsAssociated Press

Navajo Nation health officials have reported 15 more cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths.

That brings the total number of people infected to 9,308 and the known death toll to 472 as of Sunday night. Navajo Department of Health officials said 85,206 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 6,859 have recovered.

Tribal President Jonathan Nez pointed to the latest coronavirus figures as evidence that most Navajo Nation residents are complying with lockdown orders and the advice of medical experts.

The Navajo Nation recently changed its 57-hour weekend lockdown to a 32-hour one. The vast reservation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Navajo Nation Reports 36 More COVID-19 Cases, 2 More Deaths - Associated Press

Navajo Nation health officials have reported 36 more cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths. That brings the total number of people infected to 9,293 and the known death toll to 470 as of Saturday night. 

Navajo Department of Health officials say 84,537 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 6,810 have recovered. 

Tribal President Jonathan Nez says his administration partnered Saturday with the Winslow Indian Health Care Center to distribute food and essential supplies to 571 families in the communities of Winslow, Leupp, and Dilkon to help keep people home and safe. 

The Navajo Nation changed its 57-hour weekend lockdown to a 32-hour weekend lockdown that began at 9 p.m. Saturday and will end at 5 a.m. Monday.

Agency Reports First Plague Death In New Mexico Since 2015 - Associated Press

A Rio Arriba County man has died of the plague in what the state Department of Health says is the first such death in New Mexico since 2015.

Officials said Friday that the man was in his 20s and had been hospitalized.

A statement released by the department said health officials would investigate the Rio Arriba County man's home to check for ongoing risk to the man's family members, neighbors and others.

Department officials had said in late July that a Santa Fe County man in his 60s who was recovering at a hospital was the first case of plague this year. 

The plague is a bacterial disease that usually originates with wildlife. It can be transmitted to humans and pets through the bites of infected fleas.  

Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, and swelling of the lymph nodes. It can lead to death.

Doctors say it can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early enough.