COVID-19 by the numbers
Over the weekend, New Mexico health officials announced 46 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 237, as well as the state's second death from the virus: a Bernalillo man in his 80s who died on March 27. The state also began reporting the number of individuals who have recovered from COVID-19: 26 as of Sunday; 22 people currently are hospitalized.
SFR asked Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office for a response to forecasting projections for New Mexico created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington. According to IHME, New Mexico will reach its "peak resource use" at hospitals on April 25. That forecast predicts a shortage of 121 Intensive Care Unit beds and 513 COVID-19 deaths in the state by Aug. 4. A state spokeswoman tells us a team working on modeling, analytics and reporting for New Mexico "has studied over five models and is working to identify the best and worst case scenarios related to the COVID-19 surge," and that "many but not all of the ranges and best estimate numbers for over 12 variables that they have agreed upon are included in the UW model."
Testing results and diagnostic tools online
The state Health Department has launched two online COVID-19 tools. New Mexicans can now receive COVID-19 test results online, as well as use a self-screening tool for the virus. Find the test result portal here. You will need to provide your name, date of birth and the date of sample collection. If test results aren't available yet, the portal will indicate they are pending. If test results are available, you'll have to provide an email address and contact information and create a password to access them. The self-screening tool is available here and includes a list of questions designed to determine the extent of your symptoms and chances of exposure to COVID-19 to provide recommendations regarding testing.
Pandemic help for the homeless
Last week, homeless shelters in Santa Fe began using city and county funds to rent hotel rooms for some of the most at-risk members of the homeless population. The city plans to use half of its COVID-19 emergency fund—$250,000—to help Santa Feans most impacted by the crisis, which will include homeless shelters, mental health providers and food distribution services. "The clear needs that we're seeing are what we call social determinants of people's health—need for shelter and housing, need for food, need for transportation and childcare for essential workers such as healthcare providers," Community Services Department Director Kyra Ochoa told city councilors via video during the governing body's meeting last week.
Federal aid for NM
Expanded unemployment, up to $1,200 for individuals, $200 billion toward the healthcare system and $1.25 billion in relief aid are among the many components included in New Mexico's share of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last Friday. SFR spoke with US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-NM, shortly before he voted for the bill after jetting back to Washington, DC to do so. Lujan says he's heard from many constituents in the 3rd Congressional District worried about employment, which he says he focused on for the relief bill. "Around Santa Fe, the number of restaurants and small businesses that have been impacted, the number of servers, back of the house, people who prepare our foods…they're hurting right now," he said. The state's full congressional delegation sent a letter over the weekend to the US Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency supporting Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's request last week for deployment to Albuquerque of a fully equipped Combat Support Hospital.
Let there be learning
On Friday, the governor, Education Secretary Ryan Stewart and other officials announced schools will continue online learning for the rest of the spring semester and students will not return to class. "This is not a moment that any of us asked for, none of us saw this when we look back a few months, and this is not something that we would wish on anybody. But we know that we are here right now, and in this moment we will continue to stand by our kids even when we are at a social distance," Stewart said. Santa Fe Public Schools kicks off its online learning program today. Having reliable internet service, therefore, has never been more crucial. SFR's Leah Cantor provides the lowdown on what the city, schools and Comcast are doing to keep everyone connected. You can read all of SFR's COVID-19 coverage here. If you've had experiences with testing or the virus, we would like to hear from you.
In Episode 30 of "Your New Mexico Government," college students talk about their uncertain futures. National Native News anchor and New Mexico PBS correspondent Antonia Gonzales discusses the challenges students face on tribal lands trying to get their educations online. Dr. Stephanie McIver, counseling director at UNM Student Health and Counseling, explores being easy with yourself as you make sense of the pandemic's impacts on your life.
Outside Magazine usually provides gear tips for outdoor adventures, but strange times, as we've all discovered, require pivots here and there. Outside Online's "gear guy" Joe Jackson offers up tips for work-from-home gear, which include recs for a pull-up bar, yoga mat, standing desk, headphones, foot relief and a 40-ounce water bottle.
If you need a tip for where to take your at-home viewing next, SFR Culture Editor Alex De Vore has reviewed a pair of new productions that laser in on the '80s. To wit: VHYes, DeVore writes, "is one of the most delightfully strange and self-aware pieces of filmmaking" he's ever seen and was directed by Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon's filmmaker son Jack Henry Robbins (who knew?). DeVore also delves into the homoerotic subtext of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. Read it, watch it and tell us what you think.
Now say it three times. ICYMI, last week paleontologists published their findings about a dinosaur claw they found in New Mexico more than a decade ago. The claw belonged to a dromaeosaurid (aka a raptor in Jurassic Park), and paleontologists Steven Jasinski and Robert Sullivan named the extinct 3-foot-tall creature Dineobellator notohesperus, the third known North American dromaeosaurid from the dinosaurs' twilight period. The name means "western warrior" and combines Navajo, Greek and Latin terms. Jasinski describes to the Wall Street Journal finding the previously unknown species in 2008 when he was looking for fossils with colleagues south of Farmington and saw "a square yard or so of tiny bone fragments in the crumbling sandstone." One fragment stood out, Jasinski says: "It was a fossil claw."
Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 57. "Breezy" at points, with a west wind 5 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 25 mph in the afternoon. By afternoon, winds may be gusting as high as 35 mph, at which point it will no longer be breezy or windy but rather, in the Word's opinion, stupid-windy. Right now, the whole week is looking like a mix of partly sunny, breezy, windy and stupid-windy. But here's a video of a perfect day at the beach.