This new page on the Beat, as of March 18, 2020, will be dedicated to news on COVID-19 as we receive it. Some articles in front page news, in legal notices,  columns, in sports, in editorials or letters to the editor, as well as in local and non-local news releases may also pertain to COVID-19. So please look at all pages in the Beat for ongoing news.

State plans for expanding COVID-safe visitation options at long-term care facilities                                                                

SANTA FE -- Under the leadership of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department is working with the New Mexico Department of Health and the Medical Advisory Team to create gradual re-opening plans for long-term care facilities. 

The Statewide long-term care visitation guidelines follow public health data in facilitating additional safe visitation options to residents and their loved ones in these high-risk settings. 

Starting Monday, August 10, 2020, long-term care facilities, not experiencing a new positive or outbreak, located within the 21 counties with a COVID-positivity rate below 5%, will be able to provide additional visitation options for their residents and their loved ones.

ALBUQUERQUE -- The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and its testing partners want to collaboratively assure the public that COVID-19 testing remains widely available to those who need it in the state of New Mexico, and that people who need to get tested are still able to do so. Individuals who are unsure about whether they should be tested are encouraged to call the New Mexico Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline at 1-855-600-3453.

To date, more than 600,000 COVID-19 tests have been performed statewide thanks to consistent cooperation and proactive planning work between the Department of Health and private-sector partners. As a result, New Mexico has consistently ranked as one of the top five states nationally for per-capita testing.  

“Testing is a critical tool in our fight against COVID-19," said Kathy Kunkel, Secretary of Health. “Identifying positive cases quickly ensures that individuals who may have been exposed to the virus are notified, tested and directed to quarantine, preventing further spread.”

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday issued a revised executive order requiring quarantine for individuals arriving into the state of New Mexico, incorporating adjustments for those leaving the state for urgent medical and family needs. 

As neighboring states and other parts of the country have not taken up adequate public health restrictions and guidelines, and in the absence of a coherent federal strategy to slowing the spread of COVID-19, individuals arriving in New Mexico from out of state, whether residents of New Mexico or not, must self-isolate for a period of time sufficient to ensure public health and safety is not jeopardized. 

To assure public health and safety and to minimize the community spread of COVID-19, those individuals must physically separate from others in a residence or place of lodging for at least 14 days from the date of their entry into New Mexico or for the duration of their presence in the state, whichever is shorter.

$400 million in loan funds now available for New Mexico small businesses

SANTA FE – The Small Business Recovery Loan Fund for New Mexico small businesses opened on August 5, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday.

The online application is available at http://www.nmfinance.com.  

The Small Business Recovery Act of 2020 allocates $400 million in funds from the New Mexico State Severance Tax Fund to provide loans to New Mexico businesses and nonprofits that have experienced financial hardship due to the public health order resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division and the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line are announcing a campaign to raise awareness about the availability of a 24/7 statewide emotional support helpline to assist New Mexicans who are experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Talk Helpline,1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474), provides immediate assistance, referrals, and someone to talk to in times of overwhelming feelings. Professionally trained staff are available to help a person manage stress, anxiety, fear, and loss by developing positive coping activities that help strengthen resilience.

House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia) has issued a statement in response to today's press conference regarding COVID-19:
"Today, the Governor and her staff made it clear that New Mexican voices and opinions do not matter as long as she has her emergency powers. We look to our state leaders for hope and guidance, yet this administration has made it clear that national politics and party standing is more important than you or me as New Mexicans."

Essential public health restrictions remain in effect

SANTA FE – The state Supreme Court on Monday afternoon granted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency request to stay an order issued by a judge in Carlsbad earlier Monday that would have temporarily permitted indoor dining at restaurants in New Mexico despite the state’s emergency public health order and the emergent need to take all necessary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As a result, all provisions of the state’s emergency public health order of July 13 remain in effect.

The action by the state Supreme Court effectively blocks the temporary restraining order issued earlier Monday by Judge Raymond L. Romero.

Santa Fe, NM - Today a District Court Judge issued a temporary restraining order against Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Secretary of Health in response to the administration's extreme tactics for compliance in the state's economic shutdown.

"Fortunately, it looks like our liberties matter much more than any one politician's mandates, the temporary restraining order issued today will no doubt give our restaurant employees a much needed sense of relief in the wake of their job uncertainty" said House Representative Zach Cook (R- Ruidoso). "While it is unfortunate that the virus is still prevalent, this temporary ruling is a win for each and every New Mexican's constitutional rights."