COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday announced 238 additional positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total thus far to 14,251. Bernalillo County led with 97 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 21, and McKinley and Chavez counties both with 20. Santa Fe County had 10 new cases yesterday. Overall, New Mexico has experienced a "very rapid increase in cases," Human Services Secretary David Scrase said during a news conference yesterday: a 79% increase over 16 days.
Scrase also said one in six New Mexicans have been tested for COVID-19—395,881 total, as Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel noted that depending on where one is receiving a test—at a public versus private health facility—testing criteria and result-time turnaround will vary. Some private providers are taking 7 to 14 days for results; the public health tests typically have results within 48 hours.
Officials also reported six additional deaths, including two women in their 30s from McKinley and San Juan counties, which health officials emphasized amid data that cases have begun to rise among younger demographics. New Mexico has now had 533 deaths. As of today, 154 people are hospitalized and 32 are on ventilators.
Gov amends public health order
With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced yesterday rollbacks for some elements of the current public health order. As of Monday, July 13, indoor dining at restaurants will no longer be allowed, the exercise exemption for masks has been eliminated and out-of-state visitors can no longer visit state parks. "I know most New Mexicans, because they pay attention, are clear that the trends in New Mexico are going in the wrong direction, that we have reason for concern, and that we may have to make adjustments," Lujan Grisham said. The amended public health order comes as the days tick closer to a proposed Aug. 3 re-opening for schools under a hybrid model in which students would switch off between online and in-person learning. That plan will not be able to go forward, the governor and other health officials said, unless the state can return to flattening the curve. Lujan Grisham also previewed new requirements for schools' fall sports—including a moratorium on football and soccer.
Hotels cite quarantine for dropping reservations
Hotel operators say the state's new 14-day quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors quickly quashed reservations. Joe Schepps, president of the Inn on the Alameda, says his hotel had 157 cancellations in the 36 hours following Gov. Lujan Grisham's July 1 announcement of the new rule. Representatives for Inn of the Governors, La Fonda on the Plaza and Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi cited similar lost bookings. Some in the industry claim the quarantine isn't warranted: "The data doesn't justify such a severe 14-day quarantine," Jeff Mahan, executive director of the Santa Fe Lodgers Association, said. Schepps said visitors also are encountering an anti-tourist sentiment in Santa Fe, with people telling tourists to go home.
Rep. Trujillo resigns
State Rep. Linda Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, resigned her seat yesterday, effective immediately. Trujillo, a lawyer and former Santa Fe School board member, began her first term in 2016, replacing former Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela. Calling the situation of serving on the unpaid Legislature while trying to make a living "untenable," Trujillo writes in a statement: "Serving in the New Mexico State House of Representatives has been an incredible honor that I've taken very seriously…But like so many families hurting right now, I too have had to make the incredibly hard decision to hang up my legislative hat so that I can work full-time to make ends meet." She says she plans to return to her previous job on the Boards and Commissions Division of the state Regulation and Licensing Department. The Santa Fe County Commission will choose someone to replace Trujillo through the end of her term in December; she was uncontested for the November general election.
The Santa Fe Opera's #SongsFromSFO series continues with Episode 2 at 7 pm Saturday night (aka tomorrow, if you've lost track). Hosted by renowned baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore, the event celebrates Mozart'sThe Magic Flute and features SFO's Papageno, former apprentice and baritone Benjamin Taylor, as well as Joélle Harvey, the opera's Pamina. The episode also will include never-before-seen archival footage from the opera's 2006 production. You can tailgate dressed-up or down and tune in to the show on the opera's Facebook page, YouTube Channel or Website. If you're a tweeter, employ #SFOFashion and #ShowUsYourTailgate to join in the festivities.
Feel the Burn
If your 2020 resolutions included a vow to "be more optimistic" (ahem), well…there's always 2021. In the meantime, we've all got gloom to spare. You know where this is going, right? Yup: Zozobra's got your back. This week, Santa Fe Kiwanis Club launched Burn My Gloom, a web-based submission page allowing anyone anywhere to submit their gloom for just $1, with upgrades available for documents, letters and other mementos (the website also allows you to give the gift of catharsis). That's just the tip of the spear (the burning spear), when it comes to plans for the virtual burning set for 8 pm, Friday, Sept. 4. SFR caught up with Zozobra Event Chair Ray Sandoval to this week to talk all things Zozobra.
Judges for SFR's second annual Illustrator's Cup laughed and puzzled their way through this year's entries, which doubled from last year and definitely capture the creativity and humor in our community The contest not only helps support SFR's wider journalism mission, it's also a way for people to share and connect—actions that feel super important in this socially distanced reality of COVID-19. This week, we share the winning work from all three categories: political cartoon, caricature and wild art. Watch for calls for entries for the next Illustrator's Cup next June, and start thinking about your contribution to the short fiction story and personal essay contest in October.
Stay hydrated this weekend
Today's forecast calling for a sunny day (quelle surprise), with a high near 93 degrees and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. The weekend looks slightly less sweltering than it did a few days ago: Saturday will be sunny with a high near 94 degrees; Sunday, we have a slight chance of rainless thunderstorms after noon in an otherwise sunny day with a high near 92 degrees. Still, make no mistake: It's going to be hot.
Thanks for reading! The Word has developed an insatiable appetite for interviews with epidemiologists, particularly literate ones. If you feel the same way, check out this WIRED interview with Adam Kucharski about his new book, The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread—and Why They Stop.