Coronavirus

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/28, 8a: Many of the people protesting COVID-related restrictions around New Mexico are white, while the virus has disproportionately impacted Native communities. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we look at how whiteness plays into anti-shutdown responses in towns that border tribal communities.

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Now that the state is slowly relaxing the shutdown orders, some are considering getting back to business. In episode 67 we talk with small business owners and those who support them about how they have to come up with innovative ways to sell to their customers, get their employees back, keep the lights on and keep everyone safe. We hear from restaurant owners, a statewide business incubator, a journalist and Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a virtual town hall Tuesday that the reservation hit its peak number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and emergency room visits a few weeks early thanks to social distancing and mask-wearing.

 


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Some rural communities in the Mountain West are reopening without the widespread testing and contact tracing needed to identify and isolate outbreaks of COVID-19. Absent federal dollars, local fundraising can help.

 


Maryland GovPics via Flickr / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Amazon Fulfillment Center To Bring Jobs To AlbuquerqueAssociated Press

Amazon has announced that construction began on a fulfillment center in Albuquerque that is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to the region.


Sam Sweney said he started to worry about his dad, Bill, when he didn't hear from him for a few days.

"He hadn't called. It was strange - like I texted him and he didn't text back and usually he's a pretty avid text messenger," he said.

Researchers in Utah are in the process of testing about 10,000 people for COVID-19 and antibodies against the virus that causes it.

“People have talked about how we see the tip of the iceberg with the formalized testing that we have,” said Dr. Stephen Alder, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah and one of the project’s leaders. “We're trying to look at, ‘All right, how much of the iceberg is underwater?’ This is a good way to do that.”

Airman 1st Class Jamal D. Sutter / U.S. Air Force

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.

Trevier Gonzalez

The past few weeks have seen a rise to anti-shutdown protests in many parts of the country. Some have observed the number of weapons at some of these protests, others have observed that most of the participants are white. That made us think, how does race factor into the conversations around re-opening? In episode 66, we talk with some of the louder voices in the state speaking out against New Mexico’s shutdown, and national anti-racism activist Tim Wise. And we hear from a guy who’s worked for years to grapple with his own privilege. These conversations might give us a window into what the future holds.

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Health Officials Focus On Young People As COVID-19 Cases Pass 6,600Associated Press

State health officials say they are beginning to look more closely at whether younger people without symptoms are potentially spreading the coronavirus.

National Park Service

The coronavirus pandemic has upended normal food distribution networks, especially for meat. It has also left ranchers struggling, unable to get their cattle to market as the virus sickens workers in processing plants around the country and slows production. New Mexico ranchers are working on ways around these problems by going directly to consumers, and they’re hoping it will spark long-term change in the industry. 

Mauricio de Segovia

Hospital staff are some of the most exposed essential workers during the pandemic, but cleaning staff who work in coronavirus units at UNM Hospitals say they don’t have the same access to personal protective equipment (PPE) or training on how to stay safe at work as other staff. While UNMH has COVID safety practices in place, staff say they don't reach employees who don't speak English or have regular internet access. Cleaning crew members are asking for hazard pay, better PPE, training on new cleaning chemicals, and paid quarantine leave if they are exposed.

Vanessa Bowen

It's springtime, and love is in the air — but the virus is making things complicated. In episode 65, we explore the changes COVID has wrought for many kinds of love: for family, for friends, for oneself, for longtime spouses, and yes, for lovers. A relationship expert schools us on healthy communication, risk assessment, and creative ways to date safely. And New Mexicans, whether they're partnered, dating, or single, share how they're navigating new challenges around connection and intimacy in their stay-at-home lives.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

If you want a hearty breakfast in the small town of Thompson Falls, Montana, Minnie's Montana Cafe has you covered.

 


The Mountain West News Bureau is talking to friends and relatives of those who lost their lives to COVID-19. This memorial is for 67-year-old Nancy Heitz who was likely the first person to die in an assisted living facility in Idaho.


Nursing home residents and workers account for about one-third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S., as The New York Times reported last week. Testing every resident and worker could help slow the spread in nursing homes – but it's expensive.

Tim Brown Architecture via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

US To Grant More Time To Consider New Mexico Drilling Plan - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says he'll extend the public comment period on a contested plan that will guide oil and gas drilling and other development in an area of New Mexico that includes a national park and locations important to Native American tribes.

Nash Jones / KUNM

Now that we are at the beginning of a small reopening, some people are taking it into their own hands to provide a little something special to their communities. In episode 64, we learn about a new online radio station designed to give live performers a platform to connect to their audience in a fresh way. We hear about how popular the Sunday cruise on the mother road has been since it's naturally socially distant but still all about community. Mobile drive-in movies are back. Plus, we dive into the symbolism of the many moths newly emerging in our city, sometimes feeling like a manifestation of our collective anxiety.

Rawpixel VIA Unsplash / Unsplash License

COVID-19 Cases Rise To 6,317 With 7 Additional DeathsAlbuquerque Journal, KUNM

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Wednesday the number of positive COVID-19 cases in New Mexico is now 6,317 with 7 additional deaths.

Nash Jones / KUNM

Droves of Miller moths are clinging to window sills and pinging porch lights all over New Mexico right now, making the daily pressures of the pandemic even more surreal for some. 

Olivia Harlow / Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico Governor Rejects Call To Lift Virus RestrictionsAssociated Press, KUNM

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defended her response to the coronavirus pandemic from calls by Republican lawmakers who want her to remove enforced business restrictions.

 


Early voting in New Mexico’s primary election has begun, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, election officials are urging anyone who can vote to stay away from the polls and use absentee ballots. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot at NMvote.org through May 28, and in order to be counted it has to reach the county clerk’s office by 7pm on June 2.

A few weeks ago, Lesley Dickson, a psychiatrist in Las Vegas, says she started feeling concerned for the hospital workers treating COVID-19 patients. 

WITFIELDINK VIA PIXABAY / Creative Commons

Nursing Home Reviews Ongoing Amid PandemicKRQE-TV, Associated Press

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office is considering a request by a state lawmaker to look into an Albuquerque rehabilitation center as part of the agency's ongoing review of health and safety concerns at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Wikimedia Commons via CC

Hospital custodians and houskeeping staff say that even though they clean the COVID wards and are in the room with patients, they aren't given adequate personal protective equipment. Three people we spoke with said because it is commonly known among other hospital staff that the sanitation workers are more exposed to the virus, they are treated unfairly and subject to discrimination. 

Megan Kamerick / KUNM

New Mexico is among the ten states with the highest increase in unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning many people have lost health insurance coverage as well. The state says no one should have to pay for testing and treatment related to the coronavirus, but some people are still being charged for that care. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance Russell Toal about how the state is trying to help.

The United States is seeing its highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression. And nurses, doctors and other health care workers are not immune to pay cuts and furloughs.

Nearly half of all counties in the Mountain West have largely been spared from COVID-19, according to recent data from the nonprofit organization USAFacts. Many of these communities weren't untouched, but all have had fewer than five confirmed cases of the virus. 

Many parts of the Mountain West are predicted to have above normal wildfire potential this summer. The coronavirus promises to make fire season abnormal in other ways, too.

Robert Smith via Flickr

University Showcase 5/15 8a: The coronavirus pandemic has not only created a public health crisis, but also an economic one. New Mexico has been particularly hard hit because of the plunge in global oil prices and the complete shutdown in travel and tourism. Small businesses, who make up much of the state’s economy, are also being hit hard. We’ll explore what to expect in coming months.

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