COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 1,500 new COVID-19 cases—another daily record—bringing the statewide total to 59,034.
Bernalillo County had 418 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 311. Chaves County had the third highest number of new cases: 109. Santa Fe County had 93 new cases. This week's state epidemiology case report shows Santa Fe's daily case rate per 100,000 at 53.2 for the seven-day period ending Nov. 9, more than twice what it was two weeks ago.
The state also announced 14 additional deaths from eight counties; there have now been 1,158 fatalities. As of yesterday, 481 people were hospitalized with COVID-19—56 more than the day prior—and another record-high.
Gov appoints new health secretary
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced yesterday she has appointed a new health secretary: Tracie C. Collins, dean of the College of Population Health at the University of New Mexico. Collins will formally begin in mid-December, replacing Kathy Kunkel, who retired earlier this year. A medical doctor and vascular specialist with a clinical practice, Collins also served as chair of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas prior to her position at UNM. In a news conference yesterday, Collins acknowledged she is stepping into a challenging role. "This is not going to be an easy job," she said, but also expressed optimism the state can address its growing cases, and confidence in the current health department. "There is a great group of people…already with whom I can work," she said.
The great outdoors
New Mexico's outdoor recreation economy is surpassing the US, according to a variety of metrics released yesterday in a Bureau of Economic Analysis report. As relayed by a state Economic Development Department news release, the outdoor economy contributed $2.4 billion to the state's GDP in 2019, or 2.2% of GDP. In comparison, at the national level, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.1% ($459.8 billion). In addition, New Mexico's outdoor recreation economy has been growing at 5.9% since 2018, versus 3.7% nationwide. Axie Navis, director of the state's relatively new Outdoor Recreation Division, acknowledged the state's outdoor recreation sector as "a powerhouse, but said "…there is much more work to be done. The COVID-19 health crisis has hurt many of our businesses in this space—a fact not captured in this new tranche of data. It's our job to aid in the recovery of the outdoor industry, so it continues to be a vibrant economic engine in the state."
City close to purchase of hotel for housing
The city of Santa Fe expects to close on the $2 million purchase of the Santa Fe Suites, on South St. Francis Drive, by mid-December to provide housing for those in need. Alexandra Ladd, director of the city's Office of Affordable Housing, recently told members of the city's Quality of Life Committee that a portion of the rooms will be allocated for people whose incomes or work capacity have been impacted by the pandemic. Still more rooms will be designated for low-income employees and others for the city's "chronic and veteran" homeless population. The city has until the end of December to spend the funds—which are part of the $17.6 CARES Act funding it received—and is working with a New York-based homelessness advocacy nonprofit on the project.
SFR kicks off its new "Bring a Friend" YouTube series today, a 35-minute program that will introduce viewers/listeners to an issue of importance in the city, along with fellow residents who are working on said issues. Each program streams at 5:30 pm on Thursdays through Dec. 17, and will be hosted by Culture Editor Alex De Vore and staff writer Katherine Lewin. This evening's kick-off event features Jess Clark, Solace Crisis Treatment Center prevention manager, on the topic of Trans 101 and the Concerns of Staying at Home with COVID-19. Upcoming topics include the Santa Fe Police Department and transparency; arts and nonprofits during the pandemic; schools and teens; and more. Catch them all—bring a friend!—right here.
SITE Santa Fe celebrates 25 years
What do you do when your 25th anniversary falls during a pandemic? You throw an online bash, of course! SITE Santa Fe celebrates its silver year tonight at 6:30 pm with a free event (register at sitesantafe.org). The celebration will include both live and pre-recorded segments of artists, curators, art educators and thinkers who have played roles at SITE over the years, including Ann Hamilton, Tom Sachs, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Terry Allen, Spencer Tunick, Nina Elder and Rose Simpson, among others. Hosted by SITE's Phillips Director and Chief Curator Irene Hofmann, the program will also showcase SITE's education and public programs, with live performances by the Santa Fe Music Collective and Chatter.
ISO strange stuff
Sarah Pierpont describes herself as a "broker of strange items," which is what resourceful shoppers will find at Resourceful Santa Fe's storefront at 2879-A Industrial Road (off Siler Road). The retail space evolved from the annual nonprofit Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival—which Pierpont coordinates—as a place for New Mexicans to donate unwanted items while reducing what ends up in the landfill. For artists, Resourceful Santa Fe provides a spot to find unique recycled materials for their work. SFR visited and spotted, among other items, boxes of vintage dolls and their small wooden beds; delicate china; arts and crafts tools and supplies; and every color and style of pin and button. For now, Resourceful has only limited donating and shopping hours from 1 to 3 pm on Tuesdays, along with monthly yard sales and appointments, but Pierpont—a recycling guru—has hopes and plans for expanded access and activities down the line.
Cold enough for you?
Today's forecast calls for sunny skies with a high near 49 degrees and northwest wind 5 to 15 mph (aka: bright, cold and windy).
Thanks for reading! The Word is going to run outside as the sun rises and try to catch Mercury, Jupiter or the Moon—maybe all three!