COVID-19

Retailer CVS announced plans last week to double its COVID-19 drive-through test sites at locations across the U.S., including in two Mountain West states.

Megan Kamerick

Let's Talk New Mexico 9/24, 8a: The coronavirus pandemic has shut down performance venues and music festivals around the country. That's left many musicians with cancelled shows and tours, and struggling to connect with fans and make money.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The crew at NoMoNo headquarters takes a look at where we’ve been since the pandemic started, reflecting a little—hard to find time to do it when we’re all stuck in an unending news cycle. But hopefully, this is a pleasant look back if you’ve been hanging in there with us. We want to thank all of you who listened to the show when it was Your New Mexico Government back in March—you know, 1,000 years ago.


This time of year usually means the start of college football. Not this year. Without game days and big crowds of tailgaters, college towns across the Mountain West and beyond look different - and sound a lot different, too.

Thomas Shahan / Wikimedia Commons

Panel Says New Mexico's Outdoor Future Tied To Access, Education - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

New Mexico officials say the key to boosting the economics of outdoor recreation will require educational initiatives for school children as well as improved access and a new workforce.

Creative Commons

Albuquerque Police Chief Stepping Down This FallKOB-TV, Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Albuquerque's police chief is stepping down. Mayor Tim Keller announced Thursday that Police Chief Michael Geier will retire this fall, with Deputy Chief Harold Medina taking over as acting chief next week.

The National Guard via Flickr

About a quarter of COVID-19 patients in nursing homes die, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map.

Adri De La Cruz


 As the summer season transitions into fall, it is important to note that September, the ninth month of the year, isn’t just for football and the start of school. It is also a month to raise awareness of suicide prevention and recovery. Both are already long-standing issues in our society—especially here in New Mexico. Coupled with the pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, hard feelings and thoughts can balloon. Left unattended or unnoticed, these issues lead to tragedy. But can we stop those tragedies before they happen? Talking things out and finding resources are two key solutions, and Episode 8 is full of options. This week we talk with counselors, therapists and people looking to help with an open ear, willing to hear about your problems and help you work through them. Because the world as it is today demands flexibility, but it’s tough to adjust to what you can’t see. 

 

The Food and Drug Administration has said it's open to making a COVID-19 vaccine available before phase 3 clinical trials are complete.

Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told the Financial Times last week that he was "prepared to authorize a vaccine before phase 3 clinical trials were complete, as long as officials believed the benefits outweighed the risks."

Typically, phase 1 trials involve a small number of volunteers.

Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham's Facebook page

  The national unemployment rate dropped in July to just over 10%, while New Mexico’s unemployment rate rose in that period to just over 12%. One reason is that people who were temporarily furloughed are now actually looking for jobs. That’s according to New Mexico Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley. He told  KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona that  while New Mexico’s unemployment trust fund will likely be depleted this month, his department has borrowed money from the federal government to extend the availability of benefits.

A new report shows that the COVID-19 recession has households in the Mountain West facing high hardship rates, especially when it comes to rent and food security.

 


USDA Photo by Bob Nichols / Creative Commons

While the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated issues of food access for consumers, it’s also made things more dangerous for those who grow and harvest the food we rely on. Early in the pandemic, the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty wrote to the state asking leaders to make a plan to keep agricultural workers safe. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with Felipe Guevara, a workers’ rights attorney at the center, about conditions for farm- and dairy workers before and during the pandemic.

Canva / Creative Commons

New Mexico’s harvest season is reaching its peak as the coronavirus continues to spread. The state’s agricultural workforce faces unique barriers to getting information about COVID-19, staying healthy, and reducing the likelihood of viral spread in their communities. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with Ismael Camacho, Staff Attorney for New Mexico Legal Aid’s Farmworker Project, about the working conditions he’s seeing and efforts to help inform and protect these essential workers.

For days now, wildfire smoke has degraded the air quality in much of the Mountain West, and that unhealthy air is forcing tough decisions for schools that are trying to reopen.

 


The Mountain West has seen the largest increase in mask-wearing over the last few months than any other region, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


Robbie Sugg

 


Summer is winding down and harvest season is quickly approaching. The change of the season is always very beautiful, but before the excitement of the leaves changing colors begins, we have to understand the dangers that many people are facing. With food security concerns around the state and a potential eviction crisis on the horizon it is important to ensure that everyone has the basics for survival. In Episode 7, we look at the essentials of survival—shelter, health care and food—and attempt to see not only what the problems are, but how they can be fixed.

 

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


Frank Fahland has been slowly building his dream house near Libby, Mont., for the past 15 years. 

"It's an Amish log home with a beautiful stain on it and the best back deck you've ever seen in your whole life," he says, overlooking pine-forested foothills and an open meadow.

Ever since the pandemic ramped up in mid-March, Fahland, 61, has been spending most days up here – away from people. Like hundreds of other folks in Libby, he's vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 because his lungs are scarred from breathing in asbestos-laced dust from a nearby mine for decades. He struggles to climb a small hill near his house before reaching for an inhaler. 

COVID-19 infections are waning slightly in the rural U.S., but the number of deaths there is still climbing. 


pxfuel.com / Creative Commons

Let's Talk New Mexico 8/27 8a: School is back in session online, with some districts planning to stay that way all semester and others waiting to see whether it's safe to go back in person later this fall. On this week’s call-in show, we’ll center the thoughts and experiences of New Mexico students as they kick off this unconventional semester. And we want to hear from you!

Photo by Nani Chacon

In the old days—like last year—mid-August was a time when students prepared to get back to class. A time to reconnect with friends and compare summer vacation stories and to show off the fashion of your new school outfits, if you were so lucky. In 2020, instead of students worrying about who has a crush on who, they’re thinking about who has COVID and who doesn't. Parents are concerned with how their kids will get a quality education. Teachers are not only focused on the adjustment to teaching remotely but on the health risks of being called back to campus. In Episode 6, we hear from a panel of teachers, students in three different levels of school, a union rep for college instructors, Khalil’s mom Olufemi Ekulona, as well as renowned anti-racism educator Jane Elliott. Break out your notebooks. There’s a lot to learn, and what is covered today will be on the exam.

CUNY Mapping Service

After COVID-19 hit, federal officials initially gave extra time to Census collectors to count every person living in the United States. But then they decided to end the survey a month early, increasing the risk of an undercount that could cause New Mexico to lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars for housing, food assistance, childcare, transportation and more. Native Americans living in rural areas are historically undercounted, and the pandemic has made data collection even harder. Reporter Shaun Griswold, who publishes at New Mexico In Depth for Report for America, has been keeping an eye on how the Census is reaching Native populations in the state and he gave KUNM an update on that process.

Skies are hazy across the region thanks to the many wildfires burning in the West, and that smoke is more dangerous during the pandemic. 

Don J. Usner/Searchlight NM

University Showcase, Friday 8/21 8a: COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the Navajo Nation, which only this week began a cautious re-opening. Not long ago, the vast reservation had one of the highest infection rates per capita in the United States. 

DON HARDER VIA FLICKR / Creative Commons

APS Will Stay Remote For The Entire Semester Albuquerque Journal, KUNM

Most students in New Mexico’s largest school district will continue with remote learning through the rest of the semester following approval Wednesday night at the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education meeting. 

Felipe Esquivel Reed / Creative Commons

Virus Exposure Closes 3 Central New Mexico Medical PracticesAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A central New Mexico family that has three medical practices has closed its offices due to coronavirus exposure, and two members of the family are recovering from symptoms of the virus.

Beatnik Photos via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

$1B In Revenue Expected From New Mexico's State Trust Lands - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico land managers say the state is on track to have another banner year as a result of oil and gas drilling and other activities on state trust lands.

Daniel Bear lives in Kenilworth, Utah, a small community of around 200 people between Salt Lake City and Moab. Earlier this year, Bear suffered a woodworking accident that involved his hand and a tablesaw. It was messy.

Ken Lund via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Stay-At-Home Order Lifted As Navajo Nation Starts ReopeningAssociated Press

The Navajo Nation has lifted its stay-at-home order, but is still encouraging its residents to leave their homes for only emergencies or performing essential activities and errands.

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