The latest on COVID-19
– The state's number of presumptive positive coronavirus cases is now 21. Additionally, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued five executive orders that authorize up to $3.25 million of additional state funding for emergency response (and also sparred with the president about making more federal resources available); many supermarkets are hiring temp workers to deal with the rushes on supplies; PNM has announced it will not be shutting off power for nonpayment for now; and US Rep. Ben Ray Luján announced he was self-quarantining after contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus.
– Hospitals are taking new measures right now with regards to patient screenings and visitor hours, and there's also a drive-up screening center at Presbyterian. But don't just show up unannounced; it's open daily from 11 am to 7 pm, but the hospital is asking people to first access free screening available by calling the statewide coronavirus hotline at 855-600-3453.
– Feeling a bit anxious? Yeah, that's understandable. Feeling a lot anxious? Also understandable. Need help? That's really understandable, and a brave thing to admit. The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line has promised it isn't going anywhere during this emergency situation, and anyone feeling overwhelmed should call 855-NMCRISIS or visit nmcrisisline.com for help and tips.
– Usually, celebs coming to Santa Fe and patronizing local business is exciting … but we don't live in the "usually" right now. Last week, actor (and Sexiest Man Alive) Idris Elba dropped by The Candyman Strings & Things and took pictures with some staff members; this week, Elba has announced he tested positive for COVID-19. Candyman closed immediately and is assessing the situation.
– SFR's Reported podcast snagged a few minutes with Dr. David Scrase, secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department, who talks with Katherine Lewin about the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
– A man incarcerated at the Santa Fe County jail has been quarantined for showing signs of a respiratory illness. The results of his test were not available as of yesterday afternoon.
– Many of us have a lot of time on our hands right now, and for a fair number of folks, that translates to wanting to help in any way they can. SFR talked to some nonprofits around town that are currently hurting for warm bodies to volunteer.
– Restaurants, ordered to seat at 50% capacity, are getting creative with curbside pick-ups and limited local delivery. Kohnami, Harry's Road House, Backroad Pizza, Posa's and more are embracing the new temporary normal and altering serving norms to get their patrons the food we love so much.
Advice from Washington
New York banned gatherings over 500 people; Oregon banned them over 250 people; New Mexico banned them over 100 people; the CDC recommended no events of more than 50 people; and now, the White House has suggested no gatherings over 10 people. "If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now," President Trump said, "we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we're going to have a big celebration all together."
With our powers combined…
On the local front, Santa Fe City Council voted yesterday to work remotely or begin using sick leave, along with extending its emergency declaration another week. Albuquerque City Council has voted to give Mayor Tim Keller emergency powers, giving him the ability to declare an emergency in the city and to limit gatherings. The emergency power would join others the mayor has like declaring a civil emergency if there is a riot or a natural disaster.
Sláinte all around
Oh, hey, it's St. Patrick's Day, isn't it? Yikes. Happy day, folks, and if you're stuck at home, read some work from Irish writers. Check out this 2004 piece from The Guardian about some of the best Irish literature and fire up that Kindle. Or, if plays are more your thing, The Word is a particular fan of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, but be warned, it ain't a happy one (as much Irish literature seems not to be). Poets.org is also a great resource for soothing stanzas; we recommend Eavan Boland or Seamus Heaney or even Galway Kinnell, who isn't actually from Ireland despite that very performative name.
Whip out the sunglasses
We know about about death and taxes; though we'd like to add "weather" to the list of things that Ben Franklin said are sure to be certain. The weather will keep happening, and lucky for us, it's going to be beautiful yet again today. We're looking at a high of 58 and perhaps overcast skies all day. If you go out, just remember to be nice to everyone you encounter.
Santa Fe Reporter's news team has been in overdrive lately. We intend to continue publishing daily web updates and our weekly print edition for the foreseeable future. But, in deference to guidance from officials, we're closing our downtown office Wednesday for the next couple weeks. Please call us, as we'll be forwarding our office lines and checking our voicemail regularly.
We will still produce top-rate local journalism and reach a broad audience, and we're depending on everyone to do their part. Support local journalism with a donation here.