COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 359 new COVID-19 cases. Bernalillo County had 102 cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 56 and Sandoval County with 22. Santa Fe County had 13 new cases. Lea County Correctional Facility has 37 new cases among state inmates, following an outbreak of close to 200 cases there reported last week; there have now been 716 COVID-19 cases at that facility.
New Mexico has now had 185,898 COVID-19 cases; the health department has designated 150,168 of them as recovered.
The state also announced 13 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 3,753. As of yesterday, 195 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.
NM health officials: We’re keeping an eye on Texas
With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announcing Tuesday he was both lifting the state's mask mandate and allowing businesses to open next week at 100%, New Mexico health officials say they are watching out for any impact here. In a news conference yesterday, Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said the state regularly tracks a variety of data for neighboring states such as Texas, including hospital bed availability in cities such as Amarillo, Lubbock and El Paso. "It makes no sense to assume our pandemic is contained within our borders," Scrase said. "I feel pretty confident that we not only have the pulse of what's going on in Texas but can look at that weeks in advance." Overall, officials continued to sound optimistic about the state's vaccine rollout, with Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins saying New Mexico anticipates being able to order 87,800 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for next week, but says doses of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are unlikely to be available for a few weeks as production ramps up under a new agreement between the company and competitor Merck. The state received 17,200 of the new vaccine this week and allocated doses to eight counties with lower vaccination rates, including Santa Fe County. Collins also said New Mexico is in discussions with the White House about President Joe Biden's recent directive for states to prioritize educators' vaccinations.
Haaland picks up Republican support
Yesterday, US Sen. Susan Collins of Maine became the first Republican to back US Rep. Deb Haaland, D-NM, for Interior Secretary. Collins' support follows the endorsement of Senate Energy Chair Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., last week, after days of uncertainty, and solidifies Haaland's chances for confirmation by the Senate. While acknowledging differences in opinions on some topics, Collins said: "After examining Representative Deb Haaland's qualifications, reviewing her hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and meeting with her personally, I will vote to confirm her to be the Secretary of the Department of the Interior." The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources is scheduled to consider Haaland's nomination in a business meeting at 10 am EST today.
Gov signs more COVID-relief legislation
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bills 1 and 3 yesterday, authorizing a personal income tax rebate of $600 to families and individuals claiming the Working Families Tax Credit, and extending the Small Business Recovery Loan Fund, respectively. SB 1 also provides a four-month tax holiday for restaurants, bars and other food and drinking establishments. The state Taxation and Revenue Department will be issuing instructions on how businesses can claim the credit. Regarding the small business loans, the New Mexico Finance Authority will manage the fund, and will make an announcement when applications become available. "This pandemic has been devastating for everyone, but the pain has been spread unequally," Lujan Grisham said in a statement. "My hope is these economic relief efforts reach those who need them most, and my commitment is New Mexico will continue to step up and support those who need it now and in the future as we build out a successful and sustainable recovery."
The new Exhibiting Kinship podcast homes in on the importance of Indigenous voices in museums. It's a topic near and dear to hosts Felicia Garcia (Chumash), curator of education at the School for Advanced Research, and Meranda Roberts (Northern Paiute), postdoctoral research scientist at the Field Museum in Chicago. The two formed a relationship at various academic conferences and decided to launch the podcast to discuss "the many ways Indigenous people are working to radically change the museum world." SFR talks with both hosts this week and provides a sneak preview of the first few episodes.
Picnic catering owner Lauren Stutzman brings artistry and a social conscience to her cheese plates—and boy are they pretty. She developed her affection for cheese after spending two decades in Vermont, upped her plating skills at the now-defunct Cheesemongers, but wanted to create a business with more access and better politics than what she experienced at the latter. Each of Stutzman's plates includes information about the cheese's sourcing, as well as what Indigenous lands its maker is occupying. Bottom line? Yum. Cheese. "Once you learn the cheese basics, you can start to curate cheeses that you think people on a larger scale will love and enjoy, and you can add in some of the weirder stuff, and people tend to be open to it," Stutzman tells SFR. "Cheese is such a cool product, and the makers of cheese all over the world, especially smaller producers, are very committed and dedicated to supporting the ecosystem." In addition to her delivery system, Stutzman recently acquired space in the CHOMP Food Hall (505 Cerrillos Road, 660-5146) in the Luna Center.
Not his first rodeo
Clint Eastwood's new feature film, Cry Macho, recently wrapped production in New Mexico after filming in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Sierra, Socorro and Valencia counties. According to the New Mexico Film Office, the production employed approximately 250 New Mexico crew members, 10 supporting New Mexico cast members and 600 New Mexico background and extras. Cry Macho, based on the 1975 novel by Richard Nash, tells the story of a "one-time rodeo star and washed up horse breeder who, in 1978, takes a job from an ex-boss to bring the man's young son home and away from his alcoholic mom." As he crosses rural Mexico back to Texas, "the unlikely pair faces an unexpectedly challenging journey, during which the world-weary horseman may find his own sense of redemption." Eastwood, who stars and directs, reportedly has been eyeing the project since the 1980s, and—fun fact—Arnold Schwarzenegger almost appeared in an adaptation of the novel as well.
Rain, snow, wind, sun
Today purportedly carries a chance (40%) of rain and snow showers before 8 am, then a chance of snow showers between 8 and 11 am, then a slight chance of rain showers after 11 am. Otherwise, it will be mostly sunny with a high near 50 degrees, not to mention breezy, with a west wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Also: Winds could gust as high as 35 mph, so hang on to your hat.
Thanks for reading! Turns out The Word enjoys reading about salads as much as she enjoys eating them (lots).