COVID-19 by the numbers
Yesterday, New Mexico health officials announced 218 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total thus far to 8,353. Otero County Prison Facility accounted for just more than half of those cases, with 66 new cases among people held by federal agencies and 44 New Mexico Corrections Department inmates.
In terms of counties, McKinley County had 30 new cases, followed by 21 cases in both Doña Ana and San Juan counties.
As of today, 170 people are hospitalized and the state has designated 3,115 COVID-19 cases as recovered.
Gov announces Racial Justice Czar and Council
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced yesterday she is creating an Advisory Council for Racial Justice, along with a Racial Justice Czar within her office "to monitor state institutions and hold them accountable for ending systemic racism and assuring that all persons receive fair and equal treatment and opportunities." The governor introduced several members of the new council during a news conference: State Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque; Rev. Donna Maria Davis, a pastor at New Mexico's oldest black church; and Alexandria Taylor, deputy director for the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, each of whom discussed their responses to the Minnesota police murder of George Floyd and the responding worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests. "We are hurting right now," Taylor said. "We are grieving. We are ready. We are moved to action. What we are seeing today is not new. Neither are the demands."
SFPD investigates BLM hit and run allegations
Santa Fe police are investigating a possible hit-and-run of a protester during the Black Lives Matter demonstration Friday. No arrests have been made or charges filed in the case, though the Santa Fe Police Department has made contact with the accused driver and labeled the incident as aggravated battery in their report, which SFR requested nearly a week ago and finally received. According to the report, protester Justin Rhody was standing in the road as part of a demonstration when he approached the driver's side of a Jeep Wrangler and extended his arms to try to stop the Jeep from moving while the driver turned eastbound on Paseo de Peralta, events officers say they witnessed first-hand. "While the driver was turning Mr. Rhody was pushed backward," reads the report. Some social media posts and protesters' accounts described the driver as purposely trying to hit people standing on the street, an allegation the driver denies.
They’re still counting
As of end of business yesterday, Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar said approximately 3,500 mail-in ballots still need to be counted from Tuesday's primary election. A surge in absentee voting—spurred by election officials to avoid COVID-19 risks at polling places—slowed down the count and delayed results. The First Judicial District Court granted the clerk an extension until 3 pm on Saturday, but Salazar says she had a staffing shortage on Thursday with poll workers and other volunteers and may need more time. "Today, several of them couldn't show up because they have personal lives, they're exhausted, they take care of their elderly parents," she said. "There's many reasons, so some of my staff were pulled to help." A few races remain tight and undecided at this time, including the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District.
Episode 71 of "Your New Mexico Government" delves into the "heavy lift" required to navigate these unprecedented times. Guests include: National Board of Directors of Veterans for Peace member and veteran Monique Salhab; Albuquerque artist, activist and educator Ebony Booth; Los Angeles activist and educator Francheska Zamora; and host Khalil Ekulona's father, Ademola Ekulona, a retired program coordinator with a hospital-based violence intervention program in Baltimore who is a Babalawo of the Yoruba tradition. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, KUNM and New Mexico PBS.
Eating out in the time of COVID-19
Readers have upped their take-out game, are wary of sit-down meals and are hyper vigilant in wanting to know about eateries' COVID-19 safety practices. That's the nutshell version of responses to last week's food survey promulgated by the Word's cousin newsletter The Fork. Sounds like lots of folks had lots to say and you can get the full low-down in this week's missive. You can also find out some of the top spots folks have been enjoying, and there seems to be a Partridge Family music video in there as well because…well, the Fork has a mind of his/her/their own.
Hot in the city
The Word figures if the Fork can throw a Partridge Family video for no discernible reason into his/her/their newsletter, the Word can reference an on-point Billy Idol song. What's the point, you ask? It's going to be hot around these parts and the health department has some warnings. If you have a tiny little bit of brain space to worry about something else, worry about an increased risk for "heat stress," particularly as New Mexico is expected to be in the 90s all weekend long. Heat stress, according to a DOH news release, "is a heat-related illness which can have many symptoms like dizziness, nausea, cramping, and weakness." There's quite a bit of info and tips on this topic but in brief: Avoid the heat. When temps become more temperate, be sure to grab this week's SFR Summer Guide (inserted into this week's paper and available online) to plan your socially distanced summer adventures.
Is it monsoon season yet?
Despite the heat warnings, Santa Fe's forecast no longer includes temperatures in the 90s. But did you catch that quick downpour yesterday? Felt like a monsoon around these parts. We might have more of the same in the near future. Today's forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 87 degrees and a 20% chance tonight for isolated showers, thunderstorms and gusting wind. On Saturday, look for a 40% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms and a high of 81 degrees. By Sunday, our high temp forecast drops to 79 degrees amid a sunny day and more gusting wind.
Thanks for reading! The Word barely blinked when she read an asteroid the size of the Empire State Building will be whizzing by Earth on Saturday (at a safe distance). Is it 2021 yet?