COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 253 new positive test results for COVID-19—50 more than the day prior. The state has had 13,507 cases so far.

Doña Ana County led with new cases—85 of them—followed by Bernalillo County with 60. Lea County, on the Texas border, added 113 cases in the last week alone, and had 17 new ones yesterday.

Santa Fe County had eight new cases reported yesterday, and has had 275 all together, 143 of which have been designated as recovered.

Statewide, 129 people are hospitalized—10 more than the previous day—and the health department has designated 5,902 COVID-19 cases as recovered. The state also reported two new deaths, both men, from Bernalillo and Sandoval counties; there have now been 515 total fatalities.

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.

Feds identify NM businesses receiving PPP

Yesterday, the US Treasury Department released information on some New Mexico businesses that received funding through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, naming only those that received more than $150,000 (for all others, information on the loans was released without the businesses' names and addresses). Locally, some top recipients include Meow Wolf and the Santa Fe Opera. Meow Wolf was listed as receiving funds in the $5 to $10 million bracket; The Santa Fe Opera in the $2 to $5 million bracket. The program has paid out $521 billion across the country through loans that are forgiven if businesses use the money to continue paying workers; the program was recently extended through Aug. 8. In May, SFR spoke with local businesses about their challenges with the program.

Fourth produced average number of fires

Santa Fe County says the number of fires it responded to over the Fourth of July weekend—seven—was about average, and won't confirm if they were fireworks related (a likely scenario) until the state fire marshal completes investigations. None of the fires impacted any structures; one was a grass fire in Eldorado. The Santa Fe National Forest reports the holiday weekend was "unexceptional in the best definition of the word—no fire starts, no reports of illegal fireworks and no abandoned and/or illegal campfires on three of the five districts." Moisture over the weekend helped fire conditions, forest managers say, but drier conditions are expected over the next week. "We want to thank all the visitors who spent their Fourth of July on the national forest recreating responsibly and taking good care of their public lands," Acting Forest Supervisor Debbie Cress said in a statement. "Most of our campgrounds were full, and the Jemez District had by far the largest number of visitors. But for the most part, we saw good compliance with Stage 2 fire restrictions across the forest."

Santa Fe realtors say real estate rebounding

Santa Fe home sales declined by 33% in the second quarter of this year, according to the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. But they are starting to pick up again, in no small part thanks to an exodus from city-dwellers looking for a more COVID-19 friendly environment. So say realtors, at any rate, who note sales began picking up when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham eased restrictions, with many new home owners coming from states such as California, Texas and New York. "We can now call it the beginning of a trend of people wanting to move out of densely-populated cities to areas that have more wide open spaces," Sotheby's International Realty Santa Fe Senior Vice President Gregory Antonsen tells the Albuquerque Journal. Sotheby's broker Ricky Allen, speaking to the Santa Fe New Mexican, concurs: "It's LA, it's Dallas, it's Houston, it's San Antonio, it's even Denver," Allen said. "We are a value proposition [with cheaper housing than most of those cities]. People have been quarantining and holed up and have a new appreciation for blue skies and fresh air."

Listen up

KSFR News recently began airing episodes from a series produced at the Institute for American Indian Arts by students sharing stories of songs for which they have strong attachments. The series kicks off with Hokian Win McCloud from Harrah, Washington, a Fort Peck Dakota Sioux/Yakama and an enrolled member of the Puyallup tribe. Episode 2 features Greg Ebona, who is Tlingit and Haida; and Episode 3 comes from Davina Millay Gomez, whose tribal affiliation is Coyote Valley Tribe of Pomos. She is Northern Pomo, Hopi, Dine and Mexican (Indigenous). "A Song to Remember" is produced by IAIA Radio, Deborah Begel, executive producer.

Picturing New Mexico

Stay home. But if you're contemplating a drive across New Mexico, Atlantic Magazine recently featured New Mexico in its "Fifty" series, and the photos may provide inspiration for your staycation. The piece features 34 images designed to capture the state's visual beauty and geographic diversity. Shots include: Shiprock, hot air balloons, the Very Large Array radio telescope, snow geese resting in wetlands in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Taos Pueblo, roadrunners and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, among others.

Hatch Chile Festival canceled

Organizers say it's the first time the Hatch Chile Festival—normally held over Labor Day weekend—has been canceled in its 49 years of existence. Yes, blame the pandemic. Hatch Chile Festival President Tina Cabrales says the festival relies on donations and sponsorships and, given local businesses' hardships, organizers didn't feel comfortable asking for donations. Secondly, maintaining social distancing and adhering to cleaning requirements for a festival that normally hosts 20,000 to 30,000 people didn't seem feasible. "Most of the festivals and events throughout New Mexico have also been canceled. There's no state fairs, no duck races, it's just to keep people safe," Cabrales said. "We have people that come from all over the world to this. In order to keep our community safe, it's a good idea for right now. It's not that we're doing this forever, it's just not the time."

Too hot

Today's forecast includes high temperatures near 94 degrees and a mostly sunny day. We do have some slight chance of isolated thunderstorms between noon and 3 pm, and some of the storms could produce gusty winds, but little if no precipitation is expected. The rest of the week looks dry and very hot, with temperatures possibly reaching 99 degrees on Saturday.

Thanks for reading! Due to a longstanding interest in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the Word found this New Yorker article on the future of online speech pretty interesting.