Coronavirus updates for Grant County for Wednesday, August 26, 2020. Our guest today on Coronavirus Update is Ben Rasmussen, Program manager for the Southwest New Mexico FOOD HUB at the National Center for Frontier Communities. Today he will be talking to us about the re-launch of the South West New Mexico Seed Library taking place virtually on Friday September 4th from 2-4pm.
Coronavirus Update is a local radio show that provides the latest information you need to know on local community strategies to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and protect yourself, your family and our community during this public health crisis. Brought to you by Gila/Mimbres Community Radio, Gila Resources Information Project, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Grant County and National Center for Frontier Communities.
Send us your updates to firstname.lastname@example.org
NM Dept of Health COVID-19 Hotline 1-855-600-3453 or visit cv.nmhealth.org
Coronavirus Information Hotline at 1-833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov
Message from Grant County’s health care providers –video
Donations to Community COVID-19 Response – Grant County Community Foundation
Grant County Coronavirus Update website – grantcountycoronavirusupdate.org
Coronavirus Update is broadcast live on Gila/Mimbres Community Radio 89.1 FM Silver City on Wednesdays at Noon and rebroadcast Wednesdays at 6 pm and Thursdays at 8 am
Or listen to this episode at your convenience via this link…
As of Today – Wednesday, August 26, 24,535 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New Mexico, with 750 deaths, 64 currently hospitalized individuals, and 11,909 recoveries according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
The New Mexico Department of Health announced 69 new cases of COVID-19, Tuesday, and reported three additional deaths in New Mexico related to COVID-19. The latest modeling from Presbyterian Health Services found that the spread rate for NM rose to 1.0. This is still under the state’s gating criteria of 1.05, but means that the spread of cases is no longer decreasing, but is instead treading water.
After peaking in July, the number of deaths dropped in August, back to levels seen in June.
As of today, there are 64 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19, which is down from over 100 to 200, from April through August.
In total, 728,627 COVID-19 tests have been performed in New Mexico, with 6,816 having been conducted in Grant County. The state aims to test 5,000 individuals daily on a seven-day rolling average. The COVID Tracking Project has seen a nationwide decline in tests reported over the last week, with the peak number of tests in late July and early August. State officials, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, have said that it is increasingly difficult to obtain testing supplies.
More information at cv.nmhealth.org.
LOCAL COVID-19 TESTING SCHEDULES
Grant County Public Health Office will provide free testing every Monday from 8:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. for utility workers and Food Industry Workers. Appointments are required and must be scheduled by calling Grant County Public Health Office at 575-538-5318 (ext. 4) by noon on the preceding Friday.
Testing will also be conducted every Tuesday from 8:30a.m. to 11:00a.m. for anyone at the Grant County Public Health Office.
Testing is free, but those who have insurance should bring their card with them.
Throat swab and nasal swab testing options are available.
Appointments can be scheduled by registering on the following website: cvtestreg.nmhealth.org Once registered, you will receive a code. Please save this code and use it when making your appointment by calling: 575-538-5318 (ext. 4).
The Grant County Public Health Office is located at 2610 N. Silver Street (across the street from the Swimming Pool).
CVS Pharmacy Drive-thru in Silver City is making Self-swab tests available to individuals meeting CDC criteria, in addition to state and age guidelines. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com
Hidalgo Medical Services (HMS) in Silver City is doing testing on weekdays except for Tuesday at their clinic at 1007 Pope Street in Silver City and at their Lordsburg clinic on weekdays except for Thursdays at 530 De Moss Street. Call 1-888-271-3596 for an appointment. Testing is free and expanded to everyone via a drive-up testing approach.
SILVER CITY TOWN COUNCIL PASSES MASK ORDINANCE
Silver City’s town council voted 3-1 Tuesday evening to adopt an ordinance requiring that face coverings be worn in public and in businesses within town limits by everyone over the age of 13. The Ordinance will go into effect on august 31st. For more information on the ordinance, check out the Silver City Daily Press article.
NM DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WARNS OF FRAUDULENT MASK EXEMPTIONS CARDS
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports fraudulent exemption cards are being distributed to the public that assert the holder of the card is exempt from wearing a face mask despite public health orders requiring it. These cards falsely purport to be issued by NMDOH and the U.S. Department of Justice. Anyone fraudulently creating and/or using these cards could result in being charged with a 4th degree felony.
The card, prominently displaying both the NMDOH and U.S. Department of Justice logos, claims denial of the cardholder access to a business or organization despite not wearing a face mask will result in a fine – the opposite of all current orders in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The card is not officially recognized by the Department of Health. The U.S. Department of Justice has declared similar messaging distributed nationwide to be fraudulent.
All individuals in the state are required to wear a mask or other multi-layer face covering unless instruction from a healthcare provider can be provided.
The Department of Health is working with the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General to ensure anyone issuing fraudulent exemption cards is prosecuted appropriately.
More information at cv.nmhealth.org
STATE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL TO DELIVER $13.3M IN HOUSING AID FOR LOW-INCOME NEW MEXICANS
The New Mexico Community Development Council will invest more than $13.3 million of Community Development Block Grant CARES Act funds in emergency housing assistance for low- and moderate-income New Mexicans, the Office of the Governor announced Thursday.
Those funds are required to be used to benefit low- and moderate-income persons and to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The emergency assistance will consist of up to three months of rent, mortgage or past-due utility payments for qualified applicants.
Applicants must meet definitions of low- and moderate-income persons (80 percent of Average Median Income or below); must demonstrate a reduction in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and must not be receiving rental, mortgage or utility assistance from another source.
The Mortgage Finance Authority is determining application requirements. Information about how to apply will be disseminated upon the formal launch of the assistance program.
New Mexicans who need financial assistance prior to the formal launch of the assistance program can visit the “I Need Assistance” tab at newmexico.gov for help with food and nutrition, unemployment, child care and much more.
RECOVERY COUNCIL URGES BUSINESSES TO APPLY FOR LOAN PROGRAM
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Economic Recovery Council is urging small businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 public health emergency to apply for an emergency loan program now available through the New Mexico Finance Authority.
The Small Business Recovery Act of 2020 set aside $400 million from the New Mexico’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund to provide loans to New Mexico businesses and nonprofits that have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.
Economic Recovery Council Chairwoman Christina Campos said “This is a great opportunity for businesses to get some critical help that could make the difference in being able to navigate through this very difficult period,. Businesses may be eligible for loans of up to $75,000. The loans do not require a personal guarantee or collateral and carry an interest rate currently set at 1.625 percent, fixed for the life of the loan. The loans can be used to cover rent, payroll, and other expenses.
Applications are being processed on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more and to apply, go to the New Mexico Finance Authority website at www.nmfinance.com.
NM HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AND PNM PROVIDE FUNDS TO HELP LOW-INCOME FAMILIES WITH ELECTRIC BILLS
New Mexico Health and Human Services and PNM Good Neighbor Fund program are working together to help low income families with as much as $550 to pay their electric bill. Follow the two step process to maximize the amount of utility bill assistance.
The first step is to contact the health and human services department for the LIHEAP energy assistance program at yes.state.nm.us. LIHEAP can help you with more than $400 toward your utilities and is processed in approximately three days.
The second step is to contact the PNM GOOD NEIGHBOR FUND at 844-378-5792 to get another $150 toward your electric bill.
Assistance through these programs is only available while it lasts. Go to www.pnm.com for more information.
GRANT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OPENS THIS MONTH’S MEMBERSHIP MEETING TO THE PUBLIC FOR DISCUSSION OF SCHOOL OPENINGS
The public is invited to join the Grant County Chamber of Commerce for their Monthly Membership Meeting via Zoom. The Chamber of Commerce will welcome Dr. Joseph Shepard from Western New Mexico University and Mr. Curtis Clough from Silver Consolidated School District. They will discuss the challenges they face with starting the new school year amidst the COVID pandemic crisis.
The meeting will take place Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 12:00pm -1:00pm via the Zoom app.
If you would like a link to the Zoom room please send an email request to email@example.com. You may also submit questions appropriate to the topic to the same email address. You can also contact the Chamber Of Commerce at 575-538-3785
NEW MEXICO PUSHES FORWARD WITH EMERGENCY VOTING REFORMS
AP News reported New Mexico election regulators say they’ll move forward with an initiative that allows voters to trace mail-in ballots with the use of an individualized bar code in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service.
Officials with the New Mexico secretary of state’s office briefed lawmakers Tuesday on new election procedures that respond to the coronavirus pandemic and a surging reliance on voting by absentee ballot.
State Elections Director Mandy Vigil expressed relief at Tuesday’s announcement by the U.S. postmaster general that he would halt operational changes to mail delivery that critics warned could disrupt November’s elections. New Mexico’s attorney general filed suit alongside other states to try and stop the changes.
Vigil said her office has worked closely with regional Postal Service officials on plans to place an “intelligent bar code” on the outer envelope of absentee ballots.
That allows registered voters to track a ballot through various post office facilities as it is being delivered to their home and then back to the local county clerk’s office. Under New Mexico law, ballots that arrive after 7 p.m on Election Day are not valid.
Absentee ballots accounted for 63% of votes in the statewide primary, up from 7% in the 2016 primary, as overall participation also spiked.
The ballot tracing initiative is among a long list of emergency reforms adopted in late June by the Legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related problems in the state’s June 2 primary.
New Mexico is adding new voter identification measures to the absentee balloting process and encouraging counties to distribute applications 50 days before the general election.
For the first time, absentee ballots that can be turned in by hand or mail must be signed on the outer envelope and labeled with the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number.
Election officials will reject applications for absentee ballots received after Oct. 20, with exceptions for overseas voters, as a precaution against unrealistic expectations for mail delivery that might disenfranchise voters.
2020 CENSUS REMINDER
Did you know that the census results affect planning and funding for education—including programs such as Head Start, Pell Grants, school lunches, rural education, adult education, and grants for preschool special education?
If you haven’t responded to the 2020 Census yet, now is the time.
The deadline for the census is now September 30.
The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location.
Here in Grant County, only 50.8% % of residents have responded to date. Although we have exceeded Grant County’s response rate from the 2010 Census, our community still needs you to get counted!
The easiest way to get counted is to go online to 2020census.gov and fill out the on-line questionnaire. It takes about 10 minutes.
You can also fill out your paper questionnaire that you should have received in the mail.
If you do not have access to the internet or have not received a paper questionnaire, you can call the 2020 Census Assistance line at 1-844-330-2020.
If you live in Grant County and need personal assistance filling out your census form, you can get help at:
• Village of Santa Clara City Hall, 105 Bayard Street, Village of Santa Clara, NM Monday through Friday 8:30 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. & 1:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. Any other time call for an appointment at (575) 537-2443
• Grant County Administration Building/Planning and Mapping Department from 8:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M. located at 1400 Highway 180 East, Silver City. 575-574-0000
Additionally, Belinda Jones of the El Refugio is offering to help walk anyone through the form. You can reach her at 575-538-2125 extension 17.
FOOD PANTRY SCHEDULES
The Commons regular food pantry distribution will be today August 26th from 4-6pm and again on Saturday September 5th from 10am to 12pm. The Commons is located at 501 East 13th Street, next door to Knights of Columbus. For more information please contact The Commons at 575-388-2988.
The Food Pantry at the Gospel Mission located at 111 South Texas Street in Silver City is open for drive thru only on Wednesdays 8:30 am – 9:30 am. There is a also a Daily soup kitchen: Breakfast takes place from 8:30-9:30 Mon-Fri and Lunch occurs every day from 12-1 pm
Call 575 388-5071 for more information.
St. Francis Newman Center Food Pantry located at 914 W. 13th St. Silver City is open every Monday at 4 pm. Cash assistance for rent, utilities, bus passes and prescription drugs is also provided. Call 575-388-4933 for more information.
New Mexico Crisis And Access Line
NEW MEXICO CRISIS AND ACCESS LINE
COVID-19 creates stressful times, but we are resilient and will get through it together. It’s normal to feel sad, overwhelmed, anxious and worried about the COVID virus. Everyone reacts differently, and feelings may come and go. Take care of your mental, behavioral, and emotional health. If you or someone you know is experiencing overwhelming depression, anxiety, or grief, reach out to talk to someone free and confidentially anytime, anywhere at 1-855-NMCRISIS that’s (1-855-662-7474).
The Talk Helpline, 1-855-NMCRISIS, provides immediate assistance, referrals, and someone to talk to in times of overwhelming feelings. Professional counselor staff are trained to help people manage stress reactions, anxiety, dealing with loss and promoting positive coping activities, including those that help strengthen resilience.
More information at nmcrisisline.com