Updates related to COVID-19 and its effects on Albuquerque and the rest of NM.
Navajo COVID-19 cases at 813
There are now 813 COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation, according to a release from the Navajo Nation Health Command Operations Center and the Navajo Epidemiology Center. Those case numbers are up 115 from Saturday. The Navajo Nation did not release case numbers on Sunday, so Monday’s reports reflect two days of collected data. There are now 28 COVID-19 Navajo deaths. The agencies announced that 3,028 people have tested negative for the virus.
The Navajo Health Command Center hotline is (928) 871-7014. A daily reservation-wide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. remains in effect.
Navajo COVID-19 cases by county:
• Navajo County (AZ): 251
• Apache County (AZ): 100
• Coconino County (AZ): 159
• McKinley County (NM): 109
• San Juan County (NM): 80
• Cibola County (NM): 9
• Socorro County (NM): 6
• Sandoval County (NM): 3
• San Juan County (UT): 11
Here’s how to help.
— Theresa Davis
Heinrich, Udall sponsor bill providing aid to smaller communities
Help for small towns struggling financially because of the coronavirus outbreak may soon be on the way.
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., introduced legislation Monday that would provide $250 billion is stabilization funding for communities with populations under 500,000 nationwide. The bill, also called the Coronavirus Relief Act, is also sponsored by. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
It is crucial that we provide the same direct emergency assurances to smaller towns, counties, and cities and grant them the same stability that we are providing our larger metropolitan areas,” Heinrich said in a press release.
Under the CARES ACT, the state and local governments may receive up to $1.25 billion in COVID-19 response reimbursement funding. But Albuquerque is the only municipality that can apply directly for the funds.
“This unprecedented public health and economic crisis has hit our small towns and rural communities hard as they provide emergency operations at a time when revenues are decreasing,” Udall said in the release.
According to the release, local governments with a population under 500,000 may use the funds for for lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and increases in costs believed to have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Scott Turner
NM virus deaths jump 55% in two days; 107 more cases confirmed
SANTA FE — New Mexico health officials say five more people — all adults in San Juan County — have died in the state’s coronavirus outbreak, pushing the total number of deaths to 31.
It marks a 55% increase in New Mexico’s death toll over the last 48 hours. Six deaths were announced Sunday.
State officials also said Monday that testing has confirmed 107 more cases of the virus, bringing the total number of infections to 1,345 since March 11.
The deaths announced Monday are five adults ranging in age from their 40s to their 80s, all with underlying health conditions. They occurred in San Juan County, where the Navajo Nation has been hit hard by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Eighty-seven patients are now in hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, and 304 people are classified as having recovered.
State health officials are urging people stay at home to avoid spreading the virus and overwhelming local hospitals.
“New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare,” state officials said in Monday’s announcement.
— Dan McKay
State health care providers receiving $170 million in COVID-19 relief
Nearly 1,800 health care providers in New Mexico will receive almost $170 million to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s congressional delegation said last week.
It is included in the first wave of funding from the $159 billion grant program established by the CARES Act, the lawmakers said in a news release
The funding provides aid to health care institutions like hospitals that are facing financial challenges because of the coronavirus outbreaks.
“Many rural hospitals and health care clinics were struggling to keep their doors open even before (the outbreak),” U.S. Rep. Xochit Torres Small said in a phone interview last week.
The initial funds will be distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based on past Medicare payments, the release said. Some health care providers started receiving the funds on Friday through electronic deposits. The funding is allocated as direct grants, with no repayment required, the news release said.
— Scott Turner
National nursing home deaths soar past 3,600 in alarming surge
More than 3,600 deaths nationwide have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, an alarming rise in just the past two weeks, according to the latest count by The Associated Press.
Because the federal government has not been releasing a count of its own, the AP has kept its own running tally based on media reports and state health departments. The latest count of at least 3,621 deaths is up from about 450 deaths just 10 days ago.
But the true toll among the 1 million mostly frail and elderly people who live in such facilities is likely much higher, experts say, because most state counts don’t include those who died without ever being tested for COVID-19.