COVID-19 by the numbers
Yesterday, New Mexico health officials announced 156 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total thus far to 10,990.
As of today, 149 people are hospitalized—eight more than yesterday—and the health department has designated 4,984 as recovered.
The new cases were led by Bernalillo County with 34, followed by 24 in McKinley County and 21 in Doña Ana County. The Otero County Prison Facility had 14 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates; that prison now has 701 cases between federal and state inmates.
Santa Fe County had one new case, bringing the total number of cases so far to 203, with 120 designated as recovered.
The state also reported four new deaths; there have been 480 fatalities. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state officials will provide a COVID-19 update today at 3 pm on the governor's Facebook page.
Santa Fe Mayor: Stay focused on COVID-19
While Santa Fe County had just one new case of COVID-19 yesterday, it has had several days over the last week or so in which the number of new daily cases included days with four, five and six new cases, which Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber referenced yesterday in a video city update. "We are seeing an uptick in new cases in Santa Fe County and this is to be expected in the sense that we were all told as we opened up our economy, as we opened up restaurants and shops, there would be more cases. What we have to watch out for is that uptick becoming a major reoccurrence and a serious threat to our well-being," he said. "It's absolutely essential that we not lose our focus about COVID-19." Webber also noted that more tourists are visiting Santa Fe, some from places with higher caseloads. "We are welcoming them but we need to advise them of our COVID conduct," he said, adding that the city would be increasing its efforts to inform visitors of and enforce the city's new mask ordinance, which, like the state health order requires they be worn at all times, with exceptions for exercise, eating and drinking, but also allows for $50 fines on the second and subsequent offenses.
Otero Prison cases skyrocket
The Otero County Prison Facility had 14 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates yesterday and now has 701 cases between federal and state inmates. Health and Corrections officials addressed the situation yesterday in an online news conference, acknowledging that slowing the spread is their only current recourse now that more than 75% of the inmates have COVID-19. Officials say they've instituted numerous protocols, but have encountered difficulties working with the federal agencies who house inmates at Otero and other state facilities. Lawyer Margaret Strickland, who has two clients in federal custody that have tested positive for COVID-19, tells the Albuquerque Journal that her clients are both scared. They tell her guards move between pods without changing gloves and only provided one mask per inmate without giving them a means of washing them. Moreover, she has had difficulty gaining information about the situation. "Your clients call you to find out what's going on, and you say, 'I don't know and I don't have any way to find reliable information for you,'" she said.
A tale of two Jasons
Santa Fe Police say the Tuesday afternoon SWAT operation in the Canyon Road area began as a result of a confrontation between Jason Elliott and a man who parked in a handicapped parking spot at a gallery near Elliott's home. Elliott subsequently went into his house, got his shotgun, fired a single round into the air and hit a tree. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer; negligent use of a weapon; and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. After police took Elliott into custody Tuesday evening around 5 pm, they commenced a second SWAT operation at Villa Alegre Apartments in search of Jason Capling, who has a warrant out for his arrest on charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated battery against a household member and interference with communications. Police had not yet found Capling as of last night. SFPD also didn't send out warnings for the second SWAT operation, as they did for the first. Police say each type of SWAT incident has to be treated according to its circumstances, and the first required warning the public to avoid a high-traffic area.
Episode 80 of "Your New Mexico Government" examines how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting education and housing, as well as whether the corrections system is fulfilling its human rights obligations. Guests include: KUNM News Director Hannah Colton; Susan Dunlap from the NM Political Report; Deanna Creighton Cook with ABC Community School Partnership; and Algernon D'Ammassa from the Las Cruces Sun-News. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, KUNM and New Mexico PBS.
Nothing—not even a pandemic—can stop Santa Fe Pride. The Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance presents a virtual pride this Saturday, with a DJ Livestream from Santa Fe's own DJ Oona Bender, as well as Grammy-award winning producer/remixer" DJ Tracy Young. SFR's cover story this week also is devoted to Pride, with essays by members of Santa Fe's queer community. These include Alicia Inez Guzmán recounting her return to New Mexico and finding her queer community; Anastasio Wrobel asking us to think deeper; JC Gonzo musing on the timing of Lady Gaga's newest; the Calvin "Brandi" Fields experience; and Oriana Lee highlighting notable Black locals. Our special Pride edition was sponsored by Strangers Collective, form & concept gallery and the Santa Fe Playhouse.
George RR Martin’s pandemic
What do you do during a global pandemic if you're George RR Martin? You write. The Games of Thrones author/Jean Cocteau owner says he's been hunkered down working on The Winds of Winter (the sixth novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series) and making steady progress. "I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week," Martin writes in a recent blog entry. "But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week." When he's not writing, Martin says, he's preparing for his virtual hosting duties at the Hugo awards, as well as watching TV and reading. Stephen King's recent collection If It Bleeds was a favorite, Martin says, as was Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, The Glass Hotel.
Under the sun
Forecasts call for a slight chance of thunderstorms after 3 pm today, but don't get your hopes up. Otherwise, it will be mostly sunny with a high near 89 degrees and east wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Thanks for reading! The Word is curious about the science of why it's hard for folks to resist crowds.