COVID-19 by the numbers
As New Mexicans turned out in record numbers on Election Day, the state hit a much grimmer record with a new high for daily COVID-19 cases yesterday: 1,141. Doña Ana County led the state with new cases: 270, followed closely by Bernalillo County with 262 and 108 new cases in Chaves County. Santa Fe County had the fourth highest number of new cases: 97 of them, a new record here.
The state also announced nine additional deaths from eight counties, including a woman in her 90s from Santa Fe County and a woman in her 30s from Otero County; there have now been 1,045 fatalities. As of yesterday, 401 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, 19 more than the day prior and also a record high. According to a news release, 76% of general beds and 67% of ICU beds across New Mexico hospitals are occupied with COVID and non-COVID patients.
The New Mexico Department of Health also announced yesterday that effective immediately, it will no longer provide letters for employees to present to their employers in order to leave or return to work after testing positive for COVID-19 (we did not know DOH was doing this in the first place), due to increasing demand and lack of staff capacity. Instead, a DOH news release says the department is "providing guidance and best practices for quarantine and isolation for both employees and employers," information available on the DOH website.
NM elects Joe Biden
More than 912,000 registered voters in New Mexico—67.5%— cast ballots in yesterday's election—a record number of voters (833,365 voted in 2008, the previous high), although not record participation, which hit 70% 12 years ago. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver told SFR at approximately 8:30 pm she was "extremely proud of and blown away by New Mexican voters' participation" in this year's election." As for the must-watched presidential race, which sent many Santa Fe voters to the polls on Election Day, The Associated Press declared former Vice President Joe Biden a winner here before the polls even closed. That call turned out to be true, with Biden besting President Donald Trump 54 to 44%, according to the unofficial results from the Secretary of State's Office.
Unfortunately, New Mexico's early and decisive outcome was not reflected elsewhere. As of crack of dawn Wednesday, the presidential election's outcome remained unknown and was likely to continue in that vein for hours, if not days. And, yes, while you were sleeping (if you slept) Trump falsely claimed victory.
Dems win most congressional seats, so far
Democratic candidate Ben Ray Luján won the US Senate seat currently held by outgoing Tom Udall last night, beating former meteorologist Mark Ronchetti 51% to 46%, according to unofficial state results. Standing with his family, Luján delivered a victory speech online from his home in Nambé, acknowledging his mother Carmen, whom he called his "guardian angel," and his father, the late Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives, Ben Lujan: "I know my dad is with us as well," Luján said. "I know he's smiling down from heaven."
Newcomer Democratic candidate Teresa Leger Fernandez easily warded off Republican Alexis M Johnson in her race for Luján's seat representing the 3rd Congressional District. Leger Fernandez becomes the first woman to represent the district since it was created in 1982. "I take each of the thousands of votes cast in this election as a sacred expression of trust in me and in our shared vision for our future," Leger Fernandez said in a statement. "I will treat this responsibility with the respect and the humility that it deserves." In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent Dem Deb Haaland held on to her seat easily with 58% of the vote against Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes, who won 42%. In District 2, incumbent Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small lost to former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell in a hard-fought and much-watched rematch. Unofficial results show Herrell with 54% of the vote versus 46% for Torres Small.
Some of the rest…
Democrats appeared poised to gain more state Senate seats, according to unofficial state results, and possibly lose three in the state House. Several races remained tight by the end of the night's counting. Voters also appeared to favor—55% to 45%—changing the elected and chronically problematic five-member Public Regulation Commission into an appointed three-member body. All of the state and Santa Fe County bonds appear to have passed. In five contested judicial races for the state Supreme and Appeals courts, Democrats won all their seats, according to unofficial results, although two of the races have tight margins, according to unofficial results. Democrat Jane Yohalem captured 51% of the vote in her race for the Appeals Court against Republican Thomas C. Montoya, who had 49%. Also for the Appeals Court, Democratic candidate Zach Ives leads Republican Barbara V. Johnson 52% to 48%.
If this morning seems like a good time to ponder the use of hallucinogens to treat trauma, you're in luck. On a recent episode of KSFR's Wake Up Call, host MK Mendoza speaks with a man whose experience with hallucinogens unlocked years of trauma, began a healing process and expanded his awareness of media messaging, trauma, political strife and mind control. It's part one of the talk, so if you're intrigued, there will be more.
Legendary rock photographer Baron Wolman dies
Rolling Stone Magazine's first staff photographer and Santa Fe resident Baron Wolman died Monday night at the age of 83; he had recently been diagnosed with ALS. Wolman's photographs of iconic rock and roll musicians in the 1960s and 1970s remain today inextricably linked to the culture's remembrances of legendary performers such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia. In a statement from Wolman's rep Dianne Duenz, published by Rolling Stone, Duenz says: "Baron's pictures gave us a rare, comprehensive, and accurate reflection of that time executed by a gifted artist whose visual intelligence is unsurpassed." Wolman moved to Santa Fe in 2000 and was known, admired and loved by many. In a Facebook post, Santa Fe musician Jono Manson noted: "I will always cherish our time together. His wisdom, kindness and generosity are blessings that I will forever carry." SFR spoke with Wolman last year about his 1969 adventures at Woodstock.
It’s beginning to look a lot like…
While some (most) of us spent yesterday biting our fingernails, the City of Santa Fe's Parks Division began its annual work decorating the Plaza. That work will continue through Wednesday, Nov. 26. As usual, the city will be installing thousands of lights, garlands and farolitos in advance of the holiday season. However, due to the pandemic, the usual post-Thanksgiving in-person holiday lighting extravaganza will now be a virtual event, with details to be announced later in the month (here's a 10-minute video of the 2018 festivities, which seem like they happened in a different lifetime). In the meantime, according to a city news release, some areas of the Plaza will be closed and barricades will be utilized for safety while the decorating is completed, and motorists and pedestrians are urged to use caution and seek alternate routes.
Break out the sunscreen
Today will be sunny with a high near 70 degrees and north wind around 10 mph.
Thanks for reading! The Word just learned about "defensive pessimism," which apparently is a cognitive strategy, not just a personality trait.