COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 202 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total so far to 22,643. The health department has designated 9,612 of those cases as recovered. Doña Ana led the state with new cases yesterday: 50 of them, followed by 36 in Bernalillo County and 33 in Lea County. Santa Fe County had four new cases.
The state also announced three more deaths from Luna, McKinley and San Juan counties; there have been 693 fatalities. As of yesterday, 134 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.
The state's most recent modeling and epidemiology report confirms cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all declining in the state. Currently, the highest percentage of cases are in the 25-to-34-year-old age group. In terms of hospitalizations, the 45-to-59 and 60-and-older age groups make up the highest percentages of new hospital admissions each week. Hospital admissions of people who are white or Hispanic continue to increase each week, while Native American patients have been steadily decreasing.
NM Gov to speak at DNC
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will speak next week at the virtual Democratic National Convention Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee, specifically on Wednesday along with former President Barack Obama, 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and others. Lujan Grisham's DNC spot arrived as presidential candidate Joe Biden announced US Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif as his VP pick. Lujan Grisham was reportedly a vice presidential contender for the ticket, although a cabinet appointment to the federal Health and Human Services Department has been repeatedly floated in recent weeks. As for Biden's pick of Harris on the ticket, a governor's spokeswoman tells SFR via email: "The governor has always been committed to doing everything she can to help elect Joe Biden this fall. She's excited about the ticket and can't wait for New Mexicans and Americans to make the change this country desperately needs."
Another downtown monument vandalized
Graffiti defacing the New Mexico History Museum and a statue of Fray Angélico Chávez took place either Monday evening or Tuesday morning, coinciding with the 340th anniversary of the Pueblo Revolt. The words "Land Back" and "1680" were painted on walls and doors of the museum, while red paint was sprayed on the statue of Chávez, a Franciscan priest and author who lived in Santa Fe and died here in 1996. History Museum Director Billy Garrett tells The Santa Fe New Mexican he thinks the graffiti may have been a case of mistaken identity. "I suspect what happened was someone saw a statue of a priest," Garrett said. "The symbolism overwhelmed the sense of what that statue represents. It's hard to see that there is any connection." Neither city nor state police had any knowledge of the incident as of yesterday, the third incident of related graffiti in the last few months.
Sixth SFPS employee tests positive for COVID-19
Santa Fe Public Schools announced this week that a sixth employee in its Facilities & Maintenance Department had tested positive for COVID-19. The last positive test was announced by the district on July 16. According to Superintendent Dr. Veronica C. García, contact tracing revealed "the individual was exposed outside of the workplace. While our school buildings are closed to all but essential employees, our employees are part of the
greater community." According to a news release, under the district's protocol, the employee is not at work and is self-isolating. "Employees must provide a list of direct contacts to NMDOH and SFPS' lead nurse, who assists with contact tracing."
Los Alamos National Laboratory's seven-series podcast, Mars Technica, explores LANL's role in the Mars Perseverance mission. NASA's new Perseverance rover just began its seven-month journey to Mars, carrying on board the SuperCam, developed at the lab. "SuperCam sits on the rover's mast and has a laser that can zap rocks up to 25 feet away," Roger Wiens, who leads the SuperCam team at LANL, says in a news statement. "It analyzes the chemistry and mineralogy of the rocks on Mars, which can tell us a lot about whether the planet could have once harbored life." SuperCam also boasts a microphone, which will provide the first-ever recorded sounds from the surface of the Red Planet. The first episode of LANL's new podcast delves into the history of life on Mars; in the second episode, scientists Wiens and Patrick Gasda provide a guided tour of the SuperCam.
SITE Santa Fe offers art as activism course
Don't feel left out if you're not heading "back" to school. Learning opportunities abound, such as SITE Santa Fe's Art as Activism mini-course, taught by art historian and MICA Professor Jennie Hirsh in four individual 90-minute sessions. Overall, the course will present a number of case studies of artwork and art actions addressing social inequity based on race, gender and class. Today's second online class, which will be held from 2 to 3:30 pm, focuses on artists who have highlighted gender stereotypes as well as fought against homophobia and other gender-based prejudice in contemporary culture. The course is free for SITE members or $10 per class for non-members.
Lovecraft Country actor locks down in Santa Fe
The supernatural thriller Lovecraft Country premiers on HBO soon (Aug. 16, to be exact) starring 30-year-old Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman. Majors, a recent New York Times interview reveals, has spent the lockdown leading up to the premiere here in Santa Fe waiting for production to resume on the Jay-Z-produced Western The Harder They Fall (starring Idris Elba, who also was here last spring). Majors says he's been in Santa Fe since February and expects filming to begin later this month. "It's just been me and my dogs," he said of his time here. "Lots of exercise, lots of reading. Nietzsche. Lots of Sam Shepard because I'm out this way." Majors also discusses how he approaches projects as a Black actor, and says he attended protests in Santa Fe in the wake of George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police.
Still hot, still dry
Whatever chance of rain we had for today appears to have evaporated. Today's forecast calls for sunny skies with a high near 88 degrees and north wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Looks like we'll be in the high 80s for the rest of the week.