Coronavirus

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Northern New Mexico’s Rio Arriba County faces new challenges to meet the needs of its residents in recovery. After consistently seeing one of the highest overdose death rates in the country, the county last year received federal grant funding to ramp up programs that prioritize treatment over incarceration. Your New Mexico Government spoke with Rio Arriba County Health and Human Services Director Lauren Reichelt about how the county is working to address the interconnected issues of addiction, homelessness, incarceration and unemployment during the pandemic. 

Scott and White Healthcare / CREATIVE COMMONS

As COVID-19 cases in New Mexico continue to rise, local intensive care units have had to quickly adjust to treating patients who come down with severe symptoms of the virus. Your New Mexico Government recently spoke with John Morgan, an ICU nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, about what it’s like to be on the frontlines treating critical COVID-19 patients and what he wants people calling for the stay-at-home order to be lifted right now to know.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The American Civil Liberties Union and prison activists have been calling on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to take measures to prevent a mass outbreak of COVID-19 since before her April 6 order directing the New Mexico Corrections Department to identify prisoners who could be released. As of April 29, the department says just 29 inmates have been released out of about 6,700 people in New Mexico state prisons. Advocates have been gathering outside prisons in car rallies every Friday in April, demanding the state ensure inmates’ safety during the pandemic.

afiler via Wikimedia / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

New Mexico Blocks Roads Into Gallup As Virus Cases Surge - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

The governor of New Mexico invoked the state's Riot Control Act as she sealed off roads to nonessential traffic in Gallup to help control a surging coronavirus outbreak in the former trading post on the outskirts of the Navajo Nation.

Courtesy of Alison Keeswood and Mariaelena Lopez

Your New Mexico Government honors the memory of four people whose lives were ended by COVID 19. These are not conversations about the virus, nor about the state of New Mexico's response in episode 54. Today we talk about the people, who they were and how they lived. Beyond the data, numbers or projections, it's about the humans who lived and the legacies they have left with their families and communities.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

 

Inmates across the country fear for their lives as the coronavirus sweeps through overpopulated jails and prisons. People incarcerated in New Mexico say they’re not getting enough hygiene products, space to distance from one another or good information about potential spread behind the walls. Facilities have done very little testing, and the Corrections Department has been slow to follow through on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s April 6 order to release non-violent offenders who have less than a month left on their sentences. As of April 29, just 29 people had been discharged from state prisons, despite a 2019 study that identified ten times that number of people who could be immediately released into community corrections programs.

Pixnio

Hospital workers around the U.S. have been speaking up about concerns over working conditions and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). Former UNM Hospital nurse Hunter Marshall says he was threatened with discipline after speaking to the media about staff concerns at the hospital. So he decided to resign, he says, and look for another hospital to work in during the pandemic. Your New Mexico Government spoke with a nurse, a union representatives and doctors at UNMH about PPE and workers' rights to speak out.

The Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Many big cities are seeing the number of COVID-19 cases fall, but rural counties are seeing the opposite, according to a new analysis by the Daily Yonder, a rural nonprofit news outlet.

 


Luis Sanchez Saturno, Santa Fe New Mexican

Navajo Infections Surge As Trump Prepares To Visit Southwest - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

U.S. health officials say coronavirus infections are beginning a renewed surge on the Navajo Nation and bordering areas that may peak around May 10. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM


Lets Talk New Mexico 4/30, 8a: Some New Mexicans are talking about reopening businesses in defiance of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stay-at-home order, and mayors of 19 municipalities in the state recently signed on to a letter requesting that the governor allow them to reopen. However, health care workers say that could make things worse for those on the front lines of the COVID pandemic. This week, we’re talking about calls to reopen the economy, what that timeline could look like, and what it might mean for New Mexicans. 

This post was updated May 1 with additional information

It's World Immunization Week, but there's evidence that vaccinations are down as checkups get postponed or skipped due to worries about getting exposed to the new coronavirus.

Recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis interpreted by The Wall Street Journal show the downturn in the energy sector is affecting Mountain West states very differently.

ABQ Free Images

Albuquerque Mayor Wants Businesses Reopened With Precautions - By Morgan Lee, Associated Press

The mayor of New Mexico's largest city says he favors reopening nearly all businesses with precautions such as reduced indoor crowds, face coverings and COVID-19 screenings for workers.

The Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Vanessa Bowen

In episode 51, we talk about food access, cooking and gardening during the pandemic. Being able to get healthy food is a problem for many people all the time in New Mexico, but it's become even more of a struggle these last weeks. Many people are working to make sure folks here have food despite new obstacles, like people buying up some items at grocery stores and disrupting the supply chain, social distancing, and extra sanitation precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus. 


You might have seen it on social media - Italians on lockdown stepping out onto their balconies to sing together, or New Yorkers applauding health care workers at the same time each night.

Courtesy of Chad Cooper

Episode 50 is all about athletes and sports, and the pandemic's impacts on the players, the communities, the economy—and our spirits. What are games like when the stands are empty? How do student athletes support each other as they navigate missed opportunities for big seasons, and maybe scholarships? How do physical activity and teamwork help keep folks connected and on the right track? And what do you do when some of that's gone for a minute? 


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

It's a sunny, spring afternoon and Holly Spriggs and her teenage son, Sawyer Michaud, are digging around in her giant garden outside of Lander, Wyo.

"We're working on planting some potatoes and onions before we get some moisture here," she says. 

Spriggs is having a great time, but Sawyer would rather be snowmobiling.

Testing is considered a major requirement on the path back to normal, and as the president has made clear, it's largely up to the states to find the way. Are states in the Mountain West up to the task? By multiple measures, Utah and New Mexico are leading the way, while other states are still lagging behind. 

Felipe Esquivel Reed via Wikimedia / Creative Commons

COVID-19 Cases Rise To 2,521 Cases With Six Additional DeathsKUNM, Albuquerque Journal

The number of positive COVID-19 cases jumped by 153 Friday to 2,521 in New Mexico with an additional six deaths, bringing the total to 84.

Five of those six deaths were among people from congregate living facilities -- Cedar Ridge Inn in Farmington and Uptown Genesis in Albuquerque. There are 12 such facilities in the state where the Department of Health has identified positive COVID-19 cases in residents and/or staff

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued interim guidance saying municipalities should not clear homeless encampments during the pandemic, because that can increase community spread and cause people to lose touch with service providers. The City of Albuquerque is still clearing encampments, but over the last several weeks the Albuquerque Police Department has changed some practices in interacting with people experiencing homelessness, according to APD Deputy Chief Harold Medina. He spoke with Khalil Ekulona, host of Your N.M. Government.

Kodak Views via Flickr CC

Episode 49 is all about the elections that are still coming up and the 2020 census. Advocates tell us that New Mexico is hard to count because it's big, area-wise, and because plenty of communities are intentionally discouraged from filling it out through fear tactics. The census determines how much federal funding comes to the state for all kinds of programs over the next 10 years, and it's how voting districts are determined. If brown and black communities around the U.S. don't participate in the census, advocates tell us, their political power is diluted. 

The Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Hoan Nguyen lives in Salt Lake City and he's concerned his wife may be immunocompromised, making her more vulnerable to COVID-19. So Nguyen and his family have taken self-isolation very seriously.

el-toro via Flickr / Creative Commons . https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

New Mexico Mayor Vows To Reopen City Despite Lockdown Order - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

The mayor of the of Grants has announced that he will allow small businesses to reopen in defiance of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's order that's keeping nonessential businesses closed.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Episode 48 dives back into how the pandemic is affecting people experiencing homelessness. KUNM's Hannah Colton goes further into the story of the city breaking up encampments, despite the CDC advising against it during this time, and she brings us the perspective of Cypher Johnson, who's passing through Albuquerque and spending time on the streets. We talk to people who work with unsheltered folks around the state about what an outbreak at a shelter would mean for the whole community, about what needs to change right now—and what needs to change in the future. We also hear from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Las Cruces Police Department about how coronavirus has changed things for them philosophically and practically. 

New Mexico PBS

Steve Pearce, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, said Wednesday, April 22, that the party did not participate in or endorse the actions of Take Back New Mexico, a group calling for non-essential businesses to reopen in violation of the stay-at-home order.

Jernej Furman via Flickr CC

Episode 47 is all about this relief money folks have been promised. Where's that unemployment? That stimulus money? That small business relief? That food assistance?

Liam DeBonis / The Daily Lobo

UPDATE, 4/22/20, 2:00 p.m.: Steve Pearce, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, says the party was not contacted by O’Rion Perry and did not participate in or endorse Take Back New Mexico’s call for businesses to violate the shutdown order.

Pearce said Wednesday Perry is, “putting words into our mouth.” KUNM did reach out to the Republican Party several times on Monday and Tuesday about whether the state’s GOP was backing the effort, as Perry told KUNM in an interview. Pearce’s spokesperson canceled a Monday interview at the last minute.

Megan Kamerick / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 4/23, 8a: More health care workers in New Mexico are testing positive for COVID-19 as the state approaches an expected peak in cases later this spring. Hospitals are laying off workers as the ban on elective surgeries and other procedures slams their bottom lines. On this week’s call-in show, we’ll hear about how prepared the state’s health care system is for a surge of coronavirus patients. Are workers getting the protective equipment they need? How would hospitals handle potential shortages of intensive care beds and ventilators? To join in the conversation, email letstalks@kunm.org or call in live during the show on Thursday morning.

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