PPE

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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.

SWOP

Let's Talk New Mexico 8/20 8a: Did you know that your kids can get free crafting kits from the Española Public Library? Or that you can take virtual tours of many of the state's museums? Or that several organizations around New Mexico provide free PPE to those in need? On the next Let's Talk New Mexico, it’s the return of our annual free stuff show (2020 COVID edition), and we’re talking about what’s available for no cost during the pandemic.

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In episode 81, we check back for new developments on some of the impactful stories from YNMG from the past couple of months. What opportunities have been missed to make things better in this urgent time? Who's falling through the holes in the system? And what's still in front of us to do?

Nash Jones / KUNM

Thousands participated in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Albuquerque Sunday night in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Organizers handed out bags of donation-funded supplies to help participants feel safer demonstrating during the pandemic. 

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.

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The streets are quieter. Restaurants and bars are empty. But the trash is still picked up each week, homes are still getting cleaned and hospitals are still sanitized for safety. On episode 63, we honor the bravery of domestic cleaners, hospital janitors, sanitation workers and home health workers. They're front-line workers who need more than just thanks—they need fair pay and proper protection during the pandemic.

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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. 

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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.

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.

Marco Verch via Flickr CC

We devote episode 52 to some of the many people working on the front lines of the pandemic caring for COVID patients in New Mexico, sometimes without enough protective gear to feel safe. We ask them what urgent calls to reopen the economy sound like from where they're standing. And we find out how it's going for them, whether they're supported and heard by the institutions they work in. 

courtesy of CNM

We devote Episode 46 to local companies and makers who have switched up what they create or kicked production into high gear to make personal protective equipment and parts for ventilators. They're trying to fill the gaps at hospitals, for first responders and for other essential workers in New Mexico. 

Christina Salas


  University Showcase 4/17, 8a: During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, people from all over our community are stepping up to help. That’s true as well at the University of New Mexico. On this episode we hear about efforts to create personal protective equipment for medical workers and others.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

In episode 34,  we discover how prepared hospitals and health care facilities in New Mexico really are. And we go all over the state for this one.