COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 180 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 206,846. The health department has designated 195,789 of those cases as recovered.
Bernalillo County had 62 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 18 and Sandoval County with 16. Santa Fe County had 10 new cases.
The state also announced three additional deaths, two of which were recent—the state only reports COVID-19 related deaths once death certificates have been issued and some have been delayed due to incomplete information. As of yesterday, 97 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Currently, 71.8% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 63.7% in that age group are vaccinated. Among those 12 to 17 years old, 43.7% have had at least one dose and 35% are fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, 82% are partially vaccinated and 73.3% are fully vaccinated.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
NM health officials: Delta variant growing slower than expected
In New Mexico, the B.1.1.7 variant—now known as Alpha—remains the dominant variant, but Delta has been growing, albeit not as quickly as expected. “We originally thought we’d see the Delta variant quite high in the last two weeks of July,” Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during a COVID-19 update yesterday, “and now we think it will be sometime more in August that we’ll see that significant uptick.” Part of that is due to the high rates of vaccination here, and Scrase shared data showing that nearly all of New Mexico’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among those who have not yet been vaccinated (more than 96% of cases, nearly 95% of hospitalizations and approximately 98% of deaths, to be exact). “For me, these numbers, I find compelling in terms of the advantage of vaccination,” Scrase said. Scrase and Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins, appearing in her final news conference before returning to the University of New Mexico, provided an overview on COVID-19 and also previewed a new initiative, takecarenm.org, geared at encouraging people to catch up on their health care with their primary care providers. Collins also announced a new back-to-school vaccination program, co-sponsored with the state education department, in which participating pharmacies will provide children ages 12-17 COVID-19 vaccines without appointments starting today through Aug. 15.
Council approves CHART contractor
Amid public criticisms and internal conflict, the Santa Fe City Council last night awarded a $245,000 contract to Artful Life to oversee its Culture, History Art, Reconciliation and Truth (CHART) process. Intended to address cultural divisions such as those that led to last year’s destruction of the Plaza obelisk, the nascent CHART process has thus far only struck more nerves. Most recently, activists—speaking first to SFR and again at last night’s council meeting—say Artful Life co-founder Valerie Martinez misrepresented her heritage as as both Indigenous and Hispanic, when only the latter is apt. “The CHART process will continue to flail and flounder if you continue to engage people who are not representing the Pueblo and Diné communities,” Christina Castro, of Three Sisters Collective, said at the meeting. “We do not need representatives like Valerie Martinez.” City staff explained that Artful Life outscored a second bidder in the request for proposals, but then councilors invoked a narrow “sole source” exemption to the state’s Open Meetings Act and discussed the proposal in private executive session. Councilor Michael Garcia, in turn, intimated the contractor had been “predetermined” and the selection process biased, citing communications between Mayor Alan Webber and the proposed contractors in advance of the public meeting (an allegation Webber denied). Councilor Renee Villarreal also asked about any potential conflicts of interest given that Martinez’s mother serves on the city’s Arts Commission (that entity’s director said Martinez’s mother did not serve on the committee selection committee).
Video shows police shot suspect as he ran away
Video first provided to KRQE news yesterday shows Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies fired multiple shots at Nathan Roybal, 32, as he ran away near the intersection of Siler and Rufina Court, following a vehicular pursuit. State Police, the investigating agency for the incident, reported the June 23 event differently at the time, saying the shooting occurred when “a male suspect got out of the vehicle, pointed a black handgun at the deputies. Deputies fired at the suspect, striking him.” Instead, the video shows Roybal not complying with orders to pull over and then possibly firing one shot out of his window. State Police also claimed in its initial news release that Roybal had been driving a stolen truck, whereas a sheriff’s office report released last week does not mention this allegation. State Police have not responded to questions regarding the discrepancies mentioned, nor has the agency released the names of the deputies who fired (and the sheriff’s office, not the State Police, released Roybal’s name). The shooting was one of four by local police—three fatal—in the last few weeks.
In the most recent episode of KSFR’s “Cline’s Corner,” host Lynn Cline talks with Peter Lipscomb, park manager at Cerrillos Hills State Park. The park resumed normal hours on July 1, and offers a glimpse into the area’s history of mining, not to mention a variety of wildlife, flora, fauna and vistas. Lipscomb also delves into the park’s history and integration with the surrounding community, as well as its geologic past.
Play the game
The New Mexico Film Office yesterday announced that Electric Playhouse will be producing a new multimedia game/interactive experience called “The Artist” through the end of the month in Albuquerque. “New Mexico’s creative economy is one of its best assets, we are at the epicenter of left brains and right brains, creators and disruptors,” Film Office Director Amber Dodson said in a statement. “Electric Playhouse is the essence of the creative culture that exists in our state and their project, an interactive gamified dining experience, will be incredible.” As described, “The Artist” is an “immersive and interactive gamified dining experience that follows a young artist and her journeys through Paris,” exploring “a new blossoming relationship and her love of the different styles of art that she is being exposed to and learning about.” Participants will, thusly, be able to explore “various art styles and genres from Impressionism to Modernism through an interactive table that tracks guest movement and motions.” In a statement, Brandon Garrett, Electric Playhouse’s co-founder and vice president, describes “The Artist” as the company’s “first productized version of our highly popular immersive dining experience.” As for that immersive dining experience, the company currently offers a space dining cruise and brunch. (as for Electric Playhouse, SFR attended its grand opening last year and had a pretty good time).
Knocking it out of the park
“Poorly lit” and “just plain” is how some poor sod described New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park after visiting. “Literally miles of White Sand” is how another felt after seeing White Sands National Park. If providing a negative review of...nature strikes you as odd, you’re not alone. Designer and illustrator Amber Share first came across a compilation of one-star National Park reviews in a National Parks subreddit, and from there began seeking them out. “We live in this culture where the anonymity of the Internet just gives people license to complain about things,” Share tells Thrillist. “Criticizing nature almost feels like a parody of that ridiculousness.” She hand-lettered the critiques onto original illustrations, and created an Instagram account for them (here’s Carlsbad and here’s White Sands). A fan of national parks and the outdoors in general, Share accompanies the negative reviews with own ripostes (for example: “Putting the ‘bad’ in Carlsbad since 1930. Couldn’t you at least hang some art and install a tasteful sconce or two?”). Her book, Subpar Parks, went on sale July 13 and covers all 63 national parks, along with fun facts and tips for visiting.
Santa Fe may see more rain and thunder today, according to the National Weather Service, which calls for a 40% percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Otherwise, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 85 degrees and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon. We have a 30% chance for more overnight storms (did you hear last night’s thunder?) tonight.
Thanks for reading! The Word has eaten her fair share of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, but finds it hard to believe she’d enjoy it in ice cream form, even if Eater says it’s delicious.