Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update: Dr. Fred Koster and Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani

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Grant County Coronavirus Update

April 28th, 2021

On today’s Grant County Coronavirus Update Dr. Fred Koster and Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani have graciously agreed to return to the program. GMCR’s Jamie Newton will ask them to summarize current pandemic trends at the global, national, state, and local levels, with attention to the implications of the distribution of new variants. What can vaccinated people do with acceptable risk levels in various situations? What are the likely consequences of a ceiling on the percentage of vaccinated people in the US (demand is tapering off), and also the prospects of indefinite pandemic if large areas of the planet are denied vaccination as global travel and commerce ramp up? Listen below:

Right click and select “Save Link As” to download

Grant County Coronavirus Update is broadcast live on Gila/Mimbres Community Radio KURU 89.1 FM in Silver City every Wednesday at 10 AM.

Grant County 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 info@grantcountycoronavirusupdate.org

Resources

NM Dept of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Registration hotline 1-855-600-3453 or visit vaccinenm.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

NM Crisis & Access Line, 24/7, 1-855-662-7474; nmcrisisline.com

Donations to Community COVID-19 Response – Grant County Community Foundation

Grant County Coronavirus Update website – grantcountycoronavirusupdate.org

Grant County Vaccine Information – 575-597-7029 or visit vaccinegrantcounty.org


State News

The New Mexico Department of Health on Tuesday announced 1,382 new cases of coronavirus from last week, for a total of 196,997 cases, with 29 additional deaths for a total of 4,039 deaths in New Mexico. 

130 individuals remain hospitalized in New Mexico, which is an increase of 9 from last week.

Source: https://cvprovider.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html 

As of Tuesday, 57.2% of New Mexicans have received their first dose of the two-shot vaccine for COVID-19, while 41.1% have been fully vaccinated, according to the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard. 

Source: https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html 

Grant County News

In Grant County, the Department of Health reported 11 new COVID cases since last week, for a total of 1,688 cases.  

No new deaths have been reported in Grant County in the last week. 36 people in Grant County have lost their lives due to COVID since the pandemic began a year ago.

Source: cvprovider.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html

The Department of Health also reports that 58.9% of Grant County residents are partially vaccinated and 45.7% are fully vaccinated.

Source: https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html 


Vaccine Information

FDA and CDC Lift Recommended Pause on Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine Use Following Thorough Safety Review

Following a thorough safety review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined that the recommended pause regarding the use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine in the U.S. should be lifted and use of the vaccine should resume.

The two agencies have determined the following:

  • Use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine should be resumed in the United States.
  • The FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.
  • The FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.
  • At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) occurring is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk.
  • Health care providers administering the vaccine and vaccine recipients or caregivers should review the  Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers)external icon and Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregiversexternal icon, which have been revised to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/fda-cdc-lift-vaccine-use.html

Department of Health, Public Education Department announce Student COVID-19 Vaccination Week

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and Public Education Department (PED) announced Student COVID-19 Vaccination Week. During the week of May 3-8, students aged 16 and older will be given priority for making appointments on the NMDOH COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System, vaccineNM.org.

As of Monday, April 26, all New Mexicans 16 years and older are able to self-schedule their own vaccination appointments through vaccineNM.org, no event code required.  

To schedule a vaccination appointment, register online at VaccineNM.org. Vaccinations for New Mexicans under age 18 require parental consent, and Pfizer is the only vaccine available for students 16-to-17-years-old.  

The Department of Health can also assist those who need help registering – including those who do not have internet access. Please call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453, press option 0 (zero) for vaccine questions, and then option 4 for tech support.

Source: https://www.nmhealth.org/news/awareness/2021/4/?view=1465 

State announces COVID-19 vaccine self-scheduling for New Mexicans ages 16 and up

The New Mexico Department of Health announced that all vaccineNM.org registrants ages 16 and up can now schedule their own COVID-19 vaccine appointments. To do so, users simply log in to vaccineNM.org using their confirmation code and date of birth, choose their location, and then select from available appointments in their area. 

In the event that a user does not immediately find an available appointment, DOH encourages them to check back again. Providers are continually updating their appointment schedules.

Seniors and those with disabilities can also call 1-800-432-2080 for support with registration and scheduling.

Source: https://www.nmhealth.org/news/awareness/2021/4/?view=1470

NM DOH encouraging people to self-schedule vaccine booster shots

DOH also announced that all New Mexicans can self-schedule their boosters without an event code. If users in these groups are asked for an event code, DOH encourages users to refresh their browser (Ctrl + F5 for most browsers).

Source: https://www.nmhealth.org/news/awareness/2021/4/?view=1440 

For those experiencing difficulties registering or getting a vaccination appointment:

The NM Department of Health encourages all NM residents to register for their COVID-19 Vaccine.

New Mexico is distributing vaccines as swiftly, efficiently, and equitably as possible.  

ONLINE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED at www.vaccineNM.org

If you do not have access to the internet you can call 1-855-600-3453.  

And for Grant County residents, a vaccine hotline has been set up to assist you and answer any questions. Call 575-597-7029. 

How to Talk to Family and Friends about COVID-19 Vaccines

Talking with family and friends about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine can be hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some tips. You can help by listening without judgement and identifying the root of their concerns. Things to remember to help open the discussion include:

  • Listen to questions with empathy
  • Ask open-ended questions to explore concerns
  • Ask permission to share information
  • Help them find their own reason to get vaccinated
  • Help make their vaccination happen

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/talk-about-vaccines.html

Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine helps your body learn how to defend itself from the disease.  You may feel uncomfortable for two or three days after you receive the vaccine. After being vaccinated, you may feel some side effects such as:

  •         Muscle pain
  •         Soreness in your arm
  •         Body aches
  •         Chills
  •         Feeling tired
  •         Fever

Side effects are a sign that your body is building up protection from COVID-19. They may be uncomfortable, but they are much less harmful than having COVID-19.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html 

Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19  two weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or 2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).

The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid indoor large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

COVID-19 Exposure Notification App available

The New Mexico Department of Health has launched a COVID-19 Exposure Notification System, called the NM Notify App. When activated on a Smartphone, the app alerts individuals when they have been exposed to someone who has verified that they are infected with COVID-19.

The app was designed in a first-of-its-kind partnership between Google and Apple. Once downloaded, the app uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with other phones that have activated the app. Then, if one of the users verifies an infection of COVID-19, all users that have been in contact with the infected person within a 14-day period will receive a notification of possible exposure. The app then directs users on next steps to prevent additional spread of COVID-19. 

The NM Notify app is completely safe and anonymous, and fully protects users’ privacy. No personal data is collected through the app. The app is in wide use in many states and around the globe. According to Google and Apple data, every two downloads of the app can prevent one infection. 

To learn more about the NM Notify Exposure Notification app, go to NMNotify.com.

Source: https://www.nmhealth.org/news/awareness/2021/3/?view=1418 

Red to Green Reopening Plan

The state’s red-to-green public health order in which counties are evaluated over a two-week period for daily cases and test positivity rate will be updated next Wednesday, May 5. Counties not meeting daily case thresholds of eight or fewer cases per 100,000 population and test positivity rates below 5% follow the strictest Red guidelines; those meeting one of these benchmarks have some expanded capacity at Yellow; Green counties—those meeting both requirements —have fewer restrictions.  And the new color of turquoise indicates counties that have reached the Green Level for two consecutive biweekly updates.

The red to green framework was last updated April 21.  The next update to that framework will be next Wednesday May 5.  As of now, Grant County remains in the yellow category.  Applicable restrictions include:

  • Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but operations must be limited to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions
  • Essential retail spaces: 33% of maximum capacity
  • Food and drink establishments: 25% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoors dining; any establishment serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m. each night
  • Close-contact businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 20 customers at one time, whichever is smaller
  • Outdoor recreational facilities: 25% of maximum capacity (unless required to have less capacity under the state’s COVID-Safe Practices)
  • Close-contact recreational facilities: Remain closed
  • All other businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 125 customers at one time, whichever is smaller
  • Houses of worship: May hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not exceed 33% of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises
  • Places of lodging: 60% of maximum occupancy for those that have completed NM Safe Certified training; 25% of maximum occupancy for all others; 5 guests maximum for vacation rentals
  • Mass gatherings limit: 10 persons, 80 vehicles

Source: https://cv.nmhealth.org/public-health-orders-and-executive-orders/red-to-green/


Resources

Please consider getting tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Testing Sites and Times

Grant County Public Health Office, 2610 N. Silver Street Silver City, NM

Provides free testing every Tuesday from 8:30-10:30a.m. Testing is free, but insurance will be requested upon registration at https://cvtestreg.nmhealth.org/  

Once registered, you will receive a code. Please save this code and arrive during the designated times. Please remain in your vehicle and wear a mask.

Testing may be delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather

Hidalgo County Public Health Office, 530 DeMoss Street, Lordsburg, NM

Testing will be conducted every Thursday from 9:00-10:00a.m. Please remain in your vehicles. Testing is free, but insurance will be requested upon registration at at https://cvtestreg.nmhealth.org/

Once registered, you will receive a code. Please save this code and arrive during the designated times. Please remain in your vehicle and wear a mask.

Testing may be delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather

CVS Pharmacy Drive-thru in Silver City, 610 Silver Heights Blvd., Silver City, NM.  

Patients will be required to stay in their cars and will be directed to the pharmacy drive-thru window.  Testing is available every day.

Patients must register in advance at CVS.com Self-swab tests will be made available to individuals meeting CDC criteria, in addition to state and age guidelines. Testing is free, but those who have insurance should bring their card with them.

Albertsons – Silver City, New Mexico

Saliva Test- Cost $120.00 (not covered by insurance). Procedure: Recipients register online via the Albertson’s website, then receive a tube for saliva collection. The specimen is then mailed to a lab and results are sent back within three to five days.

Hidalgo Medical Services (HMS)

Testing is now available  Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 2:30pm (closed 12-1pm for lunch) in all HMS locations — Animas, Cliff-Gila, Mimbres, Mining District, Lordsburg, Silver City, Bayard, and Santa Clara.  

Testing expanded to everyone at both sites via a drive-up testing approach. Testing is free, but those who have insurance should bring their card with them. Call 575-388-1511 for an appointment in Silver City, 1-888-271-3596 for an appointment in Lordsburg.

At-home, self-administered COVID-19 saliva tests

At-home, self-administered COVID-19 saliva tests offer accurate laboratory-confirmed results returned within 24-48 hours of receipt of the sample.

The free tests are available to New Mexico residents regardless of exposure risk– whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic, and whether they have come into close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual or not.

To order a test, and for more information, visit learn.vaulthealth.com/nm/.

The State Department of Health reminds New Mexicans of the following:

  • Please be patient after receiving your COVID-19 test. After receiving your COVID-19 test, monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are having symptoms or if you tested because of an exposure, assume that you are infectious and self-isolate even if your symptoms resolve. You can spread the virus without knowing you are positive and without having symptoms.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, even if you are asymptomatic do not leave your home to do errands, work, or to see friends. If infected with COVID-19, you must not leave your home unless you are seeking out emergency medical care. Find more information regarging testing positive at https://cv.nmhealth.org/how-to-isolate-when-positive/ 
  • Finally, if you need emergency medical care, call 9-1-1, not the Department of Health information hotline.

CDC Update About Surface Cleaning Effectiveness 

The principal mode by which people are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus. It is possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low.  (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/science-and-research/surface-transmission.html

The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer.

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces can also reduce the risk of infection.

Always follow standard practices and appropriate regulations specific to your type of facility for minimum standards for cleaning and disinfection. This guidance is indicated for buildings in community settings and is not intended for healthcare settings or for other facilities where specific regulations or practices for cleaning and disinfection may apply.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html#other-facilities 

Study finds carcinogen above FDA limit in several hand sanitizer brands

As reported by CBS Morning, Valisure, an independent pharmacy and lab that tests drug products for quality, says it tested 260 products and found elevated levels of benzene in more than 20 of them.

Benzene is a known human carcinogen, and exposure to it is known to cause blood disorders, including leukemia.

Below is a list of the hand sanitizer brands that this study found have levels of benzene above allowable levels.

  • Artnaturals
  • SS Lavender & Herbs Scented Sanitizer
  • Huangjisoo Hand Sanitizer Gel Type Hand Cleanser
  • True Wash Instant Hand Sanitizer Natural
  • The Crème Shop Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer Peppermint-Scented Infused with Aloe Vera & Vitamin E
  • Star Wars Mandalorian Hand Sanitizer (blue and green)
  • Body Prescriptions Winter Mint Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer
  • Beauty Concepts Sugar Cookie Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Pure Logic Hand Sanitizer Aloe + Green Tea
  • Miami Carry On Instant Sanitizer Gel Soothing Gel – Wash Free – With Aloe
  • Natural Wunderz Triple Action Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
  • Clean-Protect-Sanitize Hand Sanitizer
  • Puretize Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Clean 100 Ethanol Gel

Source:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hand-sanitizer-benzene-cancer-chemical/

https://www.valisure.com/wp-content/uploads/Valisure-FDA-Citizen-Petition-on-Hand-Sanitizer-v4.14.pdf


Economic Relief Resources

$600 Income Tax Rebate now available under Working Families Tax Credit

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department has begun issuing $600 rebates for certain eligible recipients of the Working Families Tax Credit. The rebates were authorized by the Legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The one-time rebates are available to taxpayers who are not dependents, who receive the Working Families Tax Credit, and who have an adjusted gross income of $31,200 or less (single filers) or $39,000 (married filing jointly, heads of household).

Taxpayers who have already filed their 2020 New Mexico Personal Income Tax returns

and are eligible for the $600 rebate do not need to take further action. The $600 rebate

will be mailed to them or delivered by direct deposit if they selected that option when

they filed their 2020 tax return.

Source: https://www.tax.newmexico.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Working-Families-Rebates-Sent.pdf 

Restaurant and Bar Gross Receipts Tax Relief

The temporary Gross Receipts Tax relief authorized by Senate Bill 1 allows many restaurants, bars, breweries and similar businesses a Gross Receipts Tax deduction for sales of prepared food and drinks made after March 1, 2021 and prior to July 1, 2021.

The tax relief is intended to help businesses that have been especially hard hit financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the four-month period that the deduction is available, eligible businesses may choose either to not charge Gross Receipts Tax on the deductible receipts, or to charge the tax but keep the amount charged.

Fast food restaurants are not eligible for the deduction, but mobile food services do qualify.

More information, including how the deduction will be claimed, is available on the Forms & Publications page of tax.newmexico.gov.

Source: https://www.tax.newmexico.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Release-Bulletin-on-COVID-relief.pdf 

New Mexico Gas Company COVID-19 Relief for Small Business Customers

Qualified accounts will be eligible for a one-time credit of 0.50 cents for every dollar paid, up to $250, not to exceed the total balance on the account on a first come first served basis.

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2022 or until all funds have been allocated, whichever comes first.

Program Requirements – To qualify, a small business must be:

  • Registered with the New Mexico Secretary of State.
  • An active non-residential, Small Volume Rate 54 customer. Please refer to page 2 of your NMGC bill.
  • A NM, locally-owned business with 50 or fewer employees.
  • Experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19, with an account at least 30 days in arrears.
  • Able to pay at least 15% of the past due balance and agree to enter into a payment arrangement for the remaining past due balance.

Source: https://www.nmgco.com/SmallBusiness/CovidRelief


Tax Assistance

Tax Day for individuals extended to May 17: Treasury, IRS extend filing and payment deadline

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.

Individual taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year due on April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax. Penalties, interest and additions to tax will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by May 17.

More information at IRS.gov

Source: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-day-for-individuals-extended-to-may-17-treasury-irs-extend-filing-and-payment-deadline 

State of New Mexico Extends Personal Income Tax Filing Deadline to May 17

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department announced it will extend the

deadline for filing and paying 2020 New Mexico Personal Income Taxes until May 17,

2021 in accordance with the federal extension announced this week.

Source: https://www.tax.newmexico.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/New-Mexico-extends-personal-income-tax-deadline.pdf 

2020 Economic Stimulus Payment 

If you qualify for a 2020 Economic Stimulus Payment (EIP), also known as the individual payment from the COVID relief bill, but have not received it yet, make sure to claim your Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return. Visit irs.gov for more information

Source: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/recovery-rebate-credit 

Tax forms and filing information

Printed copies of the federal Form 1040, instruction books, and New Mexico tax forms are available outside the Silver City Public Library’s Cooper Street doors during curbside pickup hours. We also have the AARP free tax assistance program packets in a box by the doors. You can also get online tax help from AARP by clicking here. The local AARP tax help number is 575-342-1892.

You can download tax forms here: https://www.irs.gov/forms-instructions

New Mexico tax forms can be found here: https://www.tax.newmexico.gov/forms-publications/

Consider filing your federal taxes online at https://www.irs.gov/filing . For income below $72,000, you can use their Free File offer, available here: https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free . Go to https://tap.state.nm.us/tap/_/ for New Mexico online tax filing. 

The United Way offers free tax filing with expert assistance at myfreetaxes.com.

Western New Mexico University is also offering tax help free of charge to faculty, staff, students, and community members through their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

The Provider Relief Fund supports families, workers, and the heroic healthcare providers in the battle against COVID-19. Health and Human Services (HHS) is distributing $178 billion to hospitals and healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response.

Check out this website for more information: https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/index.html

Consumer Debt/Bankruptcy Workshop

The New Mexico State Bar is holding a consumer debt/bankruptcy workshop from 6-8 p.m., May 26, via video and teleconference.

At the workshop, an attorney will give a group presentation on bankruptcy, according to a news release. After the presentation, a one-on-one free consultation will be given by phone to people who register in advance. Call 505-797-6094 to register. 

CDC Issues Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed a declaration determining that the evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, and has issued a temporary halt in residential evictions through June 30.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html 

Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Available Now

 

The state of New Mexico will grant approximately $170M of federal aid to New Mexicans for rental and utility assistance to households experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) will administer the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in partnership with the City of Albuquerque. New Mexicans can apply for assistance at www.RentHelpNM.org beginning April 5, 2021.

Renters across the state are eligible for the program — except for residents of Bernalillo County, Dona Ana County, and those who live in a pueblo or tribal area. Those two counties, as well as tribal governments, will administer their own Rental Assistance Programs. Those seeking assistance should review the current FAQ at www.RentHelpNM.org to learn more about eligibility and documentation needed for their application.

The state of New Mexico will either pay the landlord and/or the utility provider directly depending on the financial assistance request by the applicant. Landlords and utility providers are encouraged to download a W9 and submit it to DFA via ERAVendor.Relations@state.nm.us as soon as possible to ensure a streamlined process for receiving payment. 

For more information visit www.RentHelpNM.org

Senior Utility Assistance

Seniors 60+ in need of financial assistance may apply for this support, and may qualify if they do not exceed the 200% income threshold.  Call the NM Aging and Long-term Services Department at 1-800-432-2080 to check eligibility.

Help with Internet Expenses — the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms. 

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

For more information, check this website: https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit 

COVID-19 Housing Cost Assistance Program

The COVID-19 Housing Cost Assistance Program provides emergency housing grants to income-eligible households and residents of tribal lands experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

These grants are housing assistance payments made on behalf of income-eligible applicants and residents of tribal lands, up to $1,500 per month for a period of up to three (3) consecutive months, to maintain housing and/or to reduce housing cost delinquency due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The NM Mortgage Finance Authority will pay your past-due housing payments directly to your landlord, mortgage or loan servicer, escrow company or other housing provider. The assistance does not have to be repaid.

Applications will be accepted beginning March 4, 2021. Click here to apply. To request that a paper application be mailed to you, call 505.308.4206 or 866.488.0498.

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is assistance available to those who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits.  As relates to that need, the NM Dept of Workforce Solutions will open applications for Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) starting Wed, March 10

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) provides $100 in extra benefit to individuals with at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment in the tax year prior to their initial unemployment insurance claim.

Note: Under the American Rescue Plan Act, the deadline for MEUC applications has been extended to the first week of September.

Source: https://www.dws.state.nm.us/COVID-19-Info

USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections, Foreclosures and Other Activities on Farm Loans for Several Thousand Distressed Borrowers Due to Coronavirus

Due to the national public health emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). 

The temporary suspension is in place until further notice and is expected to continue while the national COVID-19 disaster declaration is in place.

Source: https://www.usda.gov/


Food Assistance

Double your SNAP Benefits at Silver City Farmers Market 

Silver City Farmers’ Market accepts EBT and Pandemic-EBT cards and offers Double Up Food Bucks to double your SNAP benefits. Use your EBT card and get half off all purchases. 

Winter Farmers’ Market is held weekly every Saturday 9 am — 12 pm,  at the corner of Pope St. and College Avenue in the old Life Quest parking lot.

Food Pantry Schedules

As a reminder the Food Pantries at the Gospel Mission and St. Francis Newman Center are open every week

The Gospel Mission, 111 South Texas Street, Silver City, NM

Open for drive thru only on Wednesdays 8:30 am – 9:30 am. Emergency  Dry Food Boxes are available once a month to individuals upon request.   There is also a Daily soup kitchen: Breakfast takes place from 9:00-10:00 Mon-Fri and Lunch occurs every day from 12-1 pm. Showers and clothes are also made available to those in need.  Call 575 388-5071 for more information.

St. Francis Newman Center Food Pantry, 914 W. 13th St. Silver City, NM

Open every Monday at 4 pm. Cash assistance for rent, utilities, bus passes and prescription 

The Commons Center for Food Security and Sustainability 

Open the first Saturday 10:00 – Noon OR Last Wednesday 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  Users must choose one OR the other.  For residents in 88061, 88065, 88022, 88053

Please have your pantry card available or bring a picture ID and separate proof of physical address.

The next regular food pantry distributions for Silver City, Tyrone and Arenas Valley will be this Saturday, May 1, from 10 am to noon.   

The Commons is located at 501 East 13th Street, just off Swan Street behind the Knights of Columbus. For more information please contact The Commons at 575-388-2988 or visit the website https://thecommonsgrantcounty.org


Business Assistance

Restaurant Revitalization Funding Available Now

An eligible business may receive a tax-free federal grant equal to the amount of its pandemic-related revenue loss, calculated by subtracting its 2020 gross receipts from its 2019 gross receipts. 

An eligible business may receive a tax-free federal grant equal to the amount of its pandemic-related revenue loss, calculated by subtracting its 2020 gross receipts from its 2019 gross receipts. 

Eligible expenses are those incurred from February 15, 2020 to December 31, 2021, or a date determined by the Small Business Administration. If all grant funds are not spent by the business, or the business permanently closes before the end of the covered period, the business must return unused funds to the Treasury.

For more information, check out: https://restaurant.org/downloads/pdfs/advocacy/understandingrrf 

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans Increase Lending Limits 

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for the COVID-19 pandemic disaster declaration has been extended to Dec. 31, 2021.

If you are a small business, nonprofit organization of any size, or a U.S. agricultural business with 500 or fewer employees that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, you can apply for the COVID-19 EIDL.

EIDL loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021 pending the availability of funds. Loans are offered at a 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses and a 2.75 percent interest rate for nonprofit organizations, with a 30-year maturity and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin.  

For loans approved starting the week of April 6, 2021: 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.

Eligible small businesses and nonprofits can apply for the program at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/covid-19-economic-injury-disaster-loan.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)

SVOG is a federal economic assistance program for arts organizations, administered through the Small Business Administration. If you are a theatrical producer, talent rep, venue promoter, operate a live venue, live performing arts organization, movie house, or cultural institution you may be eligible to apply.

View the SBA Webinar

View the EDD Webinar

Pivotal NM has uploaded a webinar to help businesses prepare for SVOG.

View the webinar

Source: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/shuttered-venue-operators-grant 

New Mexico Safe Certified Training Programs

New Mexico businesses in all sectors are encouraged to receive training in COVID-safe practices to help ensure everyone’s safety as New Mexico reopens for business and recreation.

Source: https://nmsafecertified.org/

Paycheck Protection Program

If you need assistance in navigating the process for the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP or any other relief programs, please contact the Las Cruces office of Senator Martin Heinrich at (575) 523-6561 for assistance. You can also visit this Covid-19 Resource Center at www.heinrich.senate.gov/coronavirus

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness.

The next round of new PPP funds  is open for applications.  

This latest round will be much easier for small businesses to access, with some necessary flexibility to allow businesses to address their specific needs and still get their loans forgiven. That includes new provisions that allow restaurants, hotels, and other businesses in related services to calculate a higher PPP forgivable loan amount in order to aid industries that have been severely impacted by state and local restrictions. Also eligible for this round of PPP are housing cooperatives, local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters, and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, including local chambers of commerce and tourism organizations.

>>>You can find more information about how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program at sba.gov 

Additional program changes have been announced to make access to PPP loans more equitable, allowing sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support.  

SBA is currently offering PPP loans until May 31, 2021

For more information, click here.


Mental Health Resources

Places to Call for Help

American Psychological Association COVID-19 www.apa.org/topics/covid-19

Crisis Text Line – Text ‘Home’ to 741-741. Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in any type of crisis.

Text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517) if you or someone you care about is feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others.

Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990

Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-7233

To Find A Therapist – Psychology Today’s Find a Therapist tool is a wonderful resource for discovering therapists in your area and according to your needs. You can also find quality inexpensive licensed professional therapists using a popular resource called BetterHelp.

If you want to hurt yourself, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Call 911 if you are in an EMERGENCY SITUATION.  If you feel like you’re going to hurt yourself, it is an emergency!

In New Mexico, you can talk to trained staff if you have mental health or substance abuse concerns: call the NM Crisis and Access Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. You are not alone and it is normal to feel anxious and worried! You can confidentially reach out to talk to someone anytime and anyplace.  

If You Just Want Someone to Hear You Out…

Call the Peer-to-Peer Warmline at (855) 466-7100.  They are available to talk every day from 3:30p – 11:30p MT.  They are available by text from 6:00p – 11:00p MT

Self-Harm – An Elevated Risk For Students During COVID-19

Resources for Youth and Families: 

Youthline is a 24-hour peer-to-peer helpline for teens to talk through any issues they may be facing, including navigating eating disorders, relationship or family concerns, bullying, sexual identity, depression, self-harm, anxiety, and/or thoughts of suicide. Text teen2teen to 839863 or call 1-877-968-8491.

The Trevor Project: LGBTQIA+ kids, teens, and young adults can contact The Trevor Project for support during a crisis, if they feel suicidal or need a safe space to talk. You can also chat via their website or by text. The hotline is 24/7; texting Mon-Fri 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST. Call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678.

Go to the COVID-19 Information Resources For Families website below that contains parent training and support resources: www.autismspeaks.org/covid-19-information-and-resources-families

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network created a resource to help families manage the challenges associated with the current Coronavirus outbreak. This includes age-appropriate tips for helping children cope with stress and uncertainty at this time. www.nctsn.org


Announcements

Seeking Substitute Teachers!

Silver Consolidated Schools is looking for qualified individuals to serve as substitute teachers for the district.  Individuals will have flexibility in areas to substitute and buildings to serve. Pay is based on educational background and experience.  Those who are interested should contact Samantha Madrid at smadrid@silverschools.org or by calling 575-956-2000. 

Support Grant County Coronavirus Update Project

The Grant County Coronavirus Update website (https://grantcountycoronavirusupdate.org/) and its related Gila/Mimbres Community Radio program have been bringing to Grant County local resources, health information, and COVID-19 news since early in the pandemic. Our work has been funded by grants from local donors and foundations. Grant County Coronavirus Update is participating in Give Grandly, a 24-hour fundraising marathon for 58 charitable organizations in Southwest New Mexico. If you would like to help support this important work, please donate on May 8th. 

 

Written by: GMCR KURU 89.1 FM

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