COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials reported 104 new positive COVID-19 test results yesterday, bringing the total number of cases thus far to 6,192. McKinley County had the most new cases: 35, followed by San Juan County with 34. Santa Fe County had two new cases reported yesterday. The state also announced six additional deaths: five residents in San Juan County who were residents at congregate living facilities, and one person in McKinley County. The total number of COVID-19 deaths so far has been 276. As of today, 204 people are hospitalized and the health department has designated 1,882 COVID-19 cases as recovered.
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Gov to GOP: Nope
Thirteen Republican state senators sent a letter earlier this week to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham calling on her to lift all current restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 and fully reopen the state by 8 am Thursday morning. She said no, in some detail, responding to the senators' contention that "effects of the COVID-19 virus have not risen to the levels initially thought by many experts and leaders both nationally and statewide." The governor, in turn, noted she was unaware "of any public health experts who view 90,000 deaths—and rising every day—as a mild or moderate outcome." Moreover, she wrote, "grieving families in New Mexico who have lost a loved one" are unlikely to consider the outcome of this virus "primarily a tragedy of 'economic shortfall,' as you put it."
More dark money in CD3 race
The Alliance to Combat Extremism Fund's ad targeting 3rd Congressional District candidate Valerie Plame takes attack ads to the next level. The ad responds to previous controversies involving former CIA Agent Plame, such as her retweeting an anti-Semitic article in 2017. "Disgraced racist millionaire Valerie Plame: Is she running for Congress to represent New Mexicans or white supremacists?" the ACE Fund ad begins and it escalates from there. ACE Fund President Ian Sugar tells the Jewish Insider he believes the actions described in the ad disqualify Plame from running for office.
Others, however, decried the ad. Lance Bell, president of the Jewish Community Council of Northern New Mexico, said that while he plans to vote for candidate Teresa Leger Fernandez, the anti-Plame ad was too much: "I do not like this ad, it's scary," he wrote in an email. And fellow candidate former Deputy Secretary of State John Blair decried, for the second time, dark money groups in the race and called upon Teresa Leger Fernandez "to denounce" them as well. "I condemn these ads in the strongest possible terms," Blair said in a statement. Fellow candidate District Attorney Marco Serna also responded, issuing a call for all entities that have endorsed Leger Fernandez to "demand she reject these shady donations, and revoke their endorsement if she fails to address this very serious issue."
SFCC furloughs staff
Santa Fe Community College President Becky Rowley announced yesterday the school is cutting staff "due to the unprecedented and unforeseen challenges presented by the coronavirus." Staff cuts include employees at the currently closed William C. Witter Fitness Center, Kids Campus, Food Service and bookstore. Staffing in facilities and operations were reduced. "It's difficult, but when we can't fully open, we're not able to pay people who can't work now," Rowley told the Santa Fe New Mexican. "So we just made the difficult decision to hopefully terminate people for as short a period as possible before campus reopens." Rowley said the school expects a budget shortfall between $2 and $5 million but will have more information after a special legislative session tentatively slated for June.