The Big Story

U.S. Tops 100,000 Coronavirus Cases, Testing Kits, Equipment Still In Short Supply

The United States on Friday surpassed more than 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, doubling the number of known infections counted just three days ago. Data from Johns Hopkins University , which has been tracking the global spread of the disease, shows 101,657 people have been diagnosed in the U.S. as of Friday evening. More than 1,560 people have died. The troubling milestone comes a day after the U.S. infection toll rose above that of Italy and China, where the virus was first detected. It...

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Featured Story

What's In The $2 Trillion Bill For Health Care?

Most of the gargantuan sum of money in the coronavirus bill Congress just passed is dealing with the economic crisis, not the public health one. "Most of the bill is on emergency relief to people and unemployment insurance," says Loren Adler , associate director of USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy. "The health care provisions are, in some sense, secondary." For health, the biggest ticket item is $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers. Professor Lindsay Wiley ...

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Office of the Governor of New Mexico

SANTA FE – New Mexico public education will shift to a learn-at-home model as schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state education and child care officials announced Friday.​ 

The decision is part of a two-pronged plan to protect New Mexicans from COVID-19 and ensure that children are protected, fed and educated and that families are supported through this crisis.

The governor previously ordered all public schools closed for three weeks, March 16-April 3, but warned at the time that an extension could be needed. It came Friday with a new executive order that extends the closing through the end of the school year.

GRANTS, N.M. (Gallup Independent) — Authorities say they have put down a prison riot in western New Mexico after a reported suicide of an inmate.

The Gallup Independent reports inmates at Northwestern New Mexico Correctional Center in Grants rioted March 20 after they were placed on lockdown following the early morning death of an unidentified inmate.

Investigators say around 300 inmates became unruly and damaged the facility. Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace says the inmates didn’t want to be all cooped up together because of the new coronavirus scare.

Mesilla Valley Community of Hope and Covid-19

Mar 26, 2020

Las Cruces, NM – On this edition of PUENTES a la comunidad, bridges to the community, host Emily Guerra spoke with Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Executive Director, Nicole Martinez, about how life has changed at Community of Hope since the Covid-19 health crisis began. She said they are an organization that is considered an essential service and remain open to people experiencing homelessness. They can provide their clients with laptops for Telehealth to prevent community spread if someone becomes ill.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A powerful commission in charge of regulating utilities and other New Mexico businesses is being evicted from its state offices by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration.

  On Thursday, March 26, a third male employee of The University of Texas at El Paso tested positive for COVID-19. The employee traveled to the same out-of-town event as the first two employees who tested positive and returned to El Paso on Thursday, March 12.


He is in self-isolation and recovering at home.


The employee had limited access to the Foster Stevens Center on March 13. The facility has been isolated and cleaned regularly with disinfectant. It was also closed and disinfected again March 24.


Campus officials and support services are in contact by phone with the employee on a daily basis.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — More than 17,000 New Mexico residents applied for unemployment benefits amid the widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

The numbers released Thursday show the jump in New Mexico is more than 19 times the number of claims the previous week.

The U.S. Department of Labor says New Mexico saw 17,187 people apply for unemployment benefits last week compared to 869 the week before.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The largest municipal jail in New Mexico is releasing some inmates facing non-violent charges who are considered vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

Officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque say no one at the facility has tested positive, but they have set up a quarantine area if needed.

New Mexico reported its first death from the virus Wednesday, and cases climbed Thursday to at least 136.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday formally requested the federal government establish a 248-bed U.S. Army combat support hospital in Albuquerque to boost the state’s treatment capacity.

State education officials also say an announcement regarding an extension to the school closure period is expected Friday.

Gov. Lujan Grisham seeks deployment of Army hospital to New Mexico

Mar 26, 2020

  SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has formally requested that the U.S. Defense Department deploy a staffed 248-bed U.S. Army combat support hospital (CSH) to Albuquerque as a proactive measure intended to enhance the state’s treatment capacity.

“This CSH is urgently needed to support the State of New Mexico’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to overwhelm our existing medical treatment facilities and resources,” Lujan Grisham wrote Wednesday in a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The governor made the request under a federal law that authorizes the U.S. government to provide states with emergency medical assistance.

Three New COVID-19 Cases In Doña Ana County; Now 136 In New Mexico

Mar 26, 2020

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Thursday announced 24 additional positive tests for COVID-19.

The Department of Health on Thursday reported no additional deaths in the state related to COVID-19. The number of deaths in the state related to COVID-19 remains at one.

Access To Be Restricted At Las Cruces Solid Waste Facilities

Mar 26, 2020

  In an effort to ensure the continued functionality of the Solid Waste System, restrictions will be instituted at Solid Waste facilities in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County beginning 12:00 p.m. Noon on Friday, March 27, 2020.


Essential businesses should supply written documentation of their “essential” status. This may be required for access to local Solid Waste facilities.


All facilities remain open to regional commercial trash haulers to drop off solid waste during normal business hours.


Through Emergency Alerts, the State of New Mexico is urging residents to stay at home. The SCSWA and LCU appreciates public support at this time and will reopen to normal business as soon as possible.


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Commentary: In response to a critical shortage of ventilators needed to keep severe COVID-19 patients breathing, President Donald Trump ordered General Motors to produce the life-saving machines under the Defense Production Act. The Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for implementation of and follow through on that order. 

In response, Matthew Wellington, Public Health Campaigns Director for U.S. PIRG, issued the following statement:

“It's about time we got serious about ramping up ventilator supply, and we need to do more. Health experts say we don’t have enough ventilators -- machines used to help people struggling to breathe -- to treat the projected number of COVID-19 patients. From Seattle to Detroit to New York, hospitals are preparing for the worst-case scenarios. 

Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary: James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding upcoming lease sales for oil and gas extraction on federal lands in New Mexico:


“While New Mexico families are focused on making sure their loved ones are safe and healthy during this fast-moving crisis, other problems are brewing at the state level that may cause pain for years to come. Plummeting oil and gas prices are draining the state budget of funds needed for public safety, health care, education, and more. Actions by the Trump Administration will make this long-term revenue crisis worse.


  Commentary: In this time of fear, chaos and uncertainty, a choice must be made in the heart of every individual — to abandon one’s principles to fear, or to hold firm to them. The Libertarian Party seeks always to lead by example, and we choose to hold firm to ours.

One of the core principles of libertarianism is that governments should not pick winners and losers. Instead, the free market should make that determination. All efforts by the government to redistribute wealth inevitably result in favoritism towards the politically well-connected.

Commentary: While the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in our state has brought many successes, COVID-19 has exposed major holes in our health care system and social safety net. Bold action is needed to ensure that New Mexicans have the resources they need. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was a critical first step in this effort.

However, additional steps will be necessary. The State of New Mexico, local clinics, and the New Mexicans who are weathering this crisis need more resources to ensure an adequate response. To that end, Health Action New Mexico has developed a series of health-related recommendations to help individuals and families access care and feel more financially secure, bolster the state’s capacity to respond, and assist clinics who help vulnerable populations. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of the steps necessary to address this crisis, it represents a critically-needed response to health coverage and access issues facing New Mexico and the United States.

Commentary: If you have not read Max Boot’s column “The coronavirus shows how backward the United States has become” (Washington Post, 18 March), you need to.  It details the many ways in which the United States, instead of being the world’s leader as the world’s richest country, is middling among the world’s wealthiest countries (OECD).

One damning paragraph reads:

Our health-care failures are particularly important now. We spend more on health care than any other country in the world, but we are the only OECD country without universal medical coverage (27.9 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2018). Child mortality in the United States is the highest in the OECD, and life expectancy is below average. We have far fewer hospital beds per capita than other advanced democracies (2.4 compared to 12.2 in South Korea), which makes us particularly vulnerable to a pandemic.

More Viewpoints
Join Fred Martino for the region's in-depth television news Thursday at 7pm, Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 11am on KRWG-TV. E-mail story ideas to
The people and issues in our growing border communities.  Watch Fronteras Thursday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 5:30pm, and Sunday at 11:30am on KRWG-TV.
Living Here appears on KRWG-TV's Newsmakers and is also featured during occasional special programs.  
Community Connection features local nonprofits and government programs that are making a difference in our region.  Do you have suggestion?  E-mail

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FACT CHECK: Trump Compares Coronavirus To The Flu, But It Could Be 10 Times Deadlier

In arguing for returning the country to some kind of normal sooner rather than later, President Trump noted that 36,000 people, on average, die from the flu each year. "But we've never closed down the country for the flu," the president said during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday. "So you say to yourself, 'What is this all about?' " But the two really can't be compared. They are very different and present different kinds of dangers. Here's how they are different, per a story done four...

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