COVID-19 by the numbers
Yesterday, New Mexico health officials reported 255 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 17,215, of which 6,814 have been designated as recovered.
Bernalillo County continues to drive the surge, adding 88, followed by Doña Ana County with 22 and Curry County with 18. Santa Fe County had 16 new cases yesterday, bringing the county total to 433, of which 177 have been designated as recovered by the health department.
The state also announced seven new deaths in from Bernalillo, Cibola, Doña Ana and McKinley counties; there have now been 578 fatalities. As of today, 154 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.
State Supreme Court upholds ban on indoor dining
Yesterday included plenty of legal wrangling over Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's July 13 health order that re-closed indoor dining for restaurants. First, Fifth Judicial District Judge Raymond Romero in Carlsbad temporarily suspended the order in response to a legal request for a restraining order filed July 14 by the New Mexico Restaurant Association and several restaurants. Then, the state Supreme Court late Monday afternoon granted the governor's emergency request to stay Romero's order. As a result, all provisions of the state's emergency public health order of July 13 remain in effect. "I am grateful for the court's quick action," Lujan Grisham said in a statement. "Businesses all across New Mexico have been battered by the effects of this pandemic; they are owed consistency and fairness, which my administration has endeavored to provide at every opportunity. We will continue to provide that while taking every single possible action to protect the health and well-being of New Mexicans—including workers and customers at our restaurants."
City of Santa Fe releases budget…with a side of Dickens
Under the City of Santa Fe's recommended budget for the 2021 fiscal year, no employees will lose their jobs, but retirement will be incentivized and some vacant positions won't be filled. All said, the city's proposed all-funds budget is $320.7 million—an 18.1% decrease from last year. The city had been on track to cut $100 million from the budget; it ended up just shy of $83 million. The budget also includes a proposed reorganization for city departments, such as a new Department of Public Health and Safety that would include the police; fire; emergency management and safety; and community services departments. In his introductory letter to the budget, Mayor Alan Webber begins by quoting Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" etc. etc) before noting (with some level of epic-novel drama) these worst times have brought out the best in Santa Fe and, accordingly, so shall the new budget: "It is bold in some areas, gentle in others…It embraces innovation and respects the fundamentals…This time is unprecedented. This budget is unlike any other."
Five apply for legislative seat
Five candidates hope to replace Democrat Linda Trujillo, who recently resigned her legislative seat for New Mexico House District 48, citing personal financial difficulties. The Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners will meet Thursday and appoint Trujillo's successor through the end of the year; the Democratic Party of Santa Fe's Central Committee will decide whose name appears on the November ballot for the seat (Trujillo had no opponents for the general election). For now, the candidates expressing interest in the position are: former County Commissioner Paul Campos, who has run for District 48 previously; Timothy L. Garcia, a former District and Court of Appeals judge; State Treasurer's Office Director of Human Resources Tara L. Lujan, a previous staffer for US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan; Frances I. Salas, who ran as a Democratic write-in candidate for governor in 1998 and, according to her Facebook page, runs Salas farms; and engineering and political consultant Greg Sonnenfeld.
In the third and latest episode of KNME's New Mexico and the Vote podcast, journalist Megan Kamerick explores the history of Native Americans' voting rights in the state, including why so many Native Americans were actually skeptical of voting in general. For some background reading from the series, check out the documentary RECLAIMING Their VOICE: The Native American Vote in New Mexico & Beyond. ICYMI, the first two episodes of New Mexico and the Vote focus on the history of women's suffrage in New Mexico and the ultimate ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Pick up your free literary mag
The annual Santa Fe Literary Review is out in the world this week, showcasing writers and artists from the Santa Fe community and beyond. Santa Fe Community College faculty, students and alumni produce the magazine each year and, as SFR learned last year when we showcased the publication, producing it is a labor of love for all. The magazine's theme this year, "The Spaces Between," came together, the editors write in the magazine's intro, as "the world is redefining the concept of space: the space between individual bodies; the spaces between cities, countries, and continents; the space we're instructed to keep from each other." Complimentary copies are available for safe curbside pickup at all three Santa Fe Public Library branches as well as the Santa Fe Community College library; you can find the exact schedule for pick-up here.
The other vaccines
While no vaccine for COVID-19 exists as of yet (hence this entire situation), other vaccines for other diseases do exist and children will be required to be up to date with their immunizations when they return to school. To that end, the state health department, the New Mexico Immunization Coalition and the New Mexico Primary Care Association, along with healthcare providers, will host immunization clinics from July 25 through Aug. 15 for anyone 18 years old and younger as part of a Got Shots? immunization campaign. To find a clinic in your community, go to immunizenm.org and click on the Got Shots? logo. DOH provides immunizations at no cost year-round at public health clinics in every county for uninsured children. To find your local public health office, visit nmhealth.org; however, due to COVID-19, be sure to check with your local public health office for details on scheduling and protocols.
A storm is brewing
We are likely to see showers and thunderstorms today, primarily after 3 pm, with a 60% chance of rain, some of it possibly heavy. Otherwise, look for a mostly sunny day with a high near 88 degrees and northeast wind 5 to 15 mph becoming southeast in the morning. More storms in the offing this evening, mostly before midnight.
Thanks for reading! The Word enjoyed watching this clip of Congressman John Lewis winning the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for his graphic novel March: Book Three in 2016. Maybe you will too.