Santa Fe County, NM

Santa Fe Reporter

DOH: Santa Fe County Has Highest COVID-19 Case Rates in the State

Santa Fe’s COVID-19 case rate highest in the state. According to the health department’s weekly epidemiology report on geographical trends, for the most recent seven-day period of May 16 through May 22, Santa Fe County had the highest case rate per 100,000 population in the state: 45.9. Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties followed close behind with case rates per 100,000 population of 39.9 and 39.4, respectively. The report marks case rates per 100,000 between 32.636 to 45.921 as high with a brick-colored designation. Sandoval, De Baca and Grant counties also are in the high range. During the same time period, the state recorded 3,549 new cases, a 43% increase from the seven-day total a week prior. Santa Fe County would appear to have had 429 cases in the last week or so (DOH no longer reports county-level cases, but reports them cumulatively each week), compared with 279 the week prior. In response to recent questions from SFR regarding rising case rates—specifically, on May 16, the state reported a three-day weekend total 45% higher than the week prior—a DOH spokeswoman sent a statement noting New Mexico, “like the rest of the country, is experiencing an increase of COVID-19 cases,” but “hospitalizations and deaths…remain stable at this time.”According to the state’s weekly report on hospitalizations, Taos County had the highest per 100,000 population rate of hospital admissions for COVID-19 between May 16-22: 9.5, followed by Santa Fe and San Miguel counties with 4.6. As SFR reported on April 29, the health department has discontinued reporting breakthrough cases in its weekly vaccination report pending “updated methods to account for confounding variables (or unmeasured factors) that impact this analysis, such as age, number of comorbidities, and immunosuppression factors.” According to the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “community levels” tracking system—which uses case rates along with two hospital metrics in combination to determine the state of the virus on a county level—all of New Mexico’s counties remain green, or low, except for Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Grant counties, which are yellow, for medium (that report updates tomorrow).
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Santa Fe Reporter

Trial of Attrition

In the midst of wildfires spreading throughout New Mexico, a heated debate burned during a two-week trial in Santa Fe’s First Judicial District Courthouse, as Estevan Montoya argued his innocence in the shooting death of local basketball star Fedonta “JB” White. A Santa Fe County jury ruled...
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Santa Fe Reporter

Close to Home

Viola Gonzales-Avant stepped outside her home last week, into the still-cool evening air and noticed some lights on the ridge to the east of her home in Pecos. She didn’t recognize the lights on the hill that stood out against the dark wilderness of the Pecos River Valley. It...
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COVID-19: Santa Fe, NM Metro Area Among the Safest in America

The U.S. reported over 620,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending May 17, bringing the total count to more than 81.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 992,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country. New cases continue to rise at a faster rate. In […]
Santa Fe Reporter

Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Managers Report Progress, Brace for Return of Winds

Fire managers brace for return of red flag weather. Following several days of better weather, managers on the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire cautioned during last night’s update the state heads back into red flag weather today and tomorrow. Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team Commander Carl Schwope, who is overseeing the fire’s south zone, reported “crews made a lot of good progress,” over the past six days, “but the next couple of days are going to be a big challenge…We don’t think any evacuations need to change; we think everything is right where it’s at…but keep paying attention. If we can make it through the next couple of days, things are going to be looking really good but it’s going to be definitely a couple of challenging days. We know the fire’s going to move.” Regarding evacuations, San Miguel County yesterday downgraded Rociada from go to set and announced power had been restored there. Bull Canyon, Cow Creek, along with upper and lower Colonias remain in go status. As of this morning, the fire measured 303,341 acres and had 34% containment. The Cerro Pelado Fire in the Jemez Mountains is now 74% contained at 45,605 acres; a new incident management team, the Rocky Mountain Black Team, takes over that fire today. The Santa Fe, Carson and portions of the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands enact closures today, but changed a previous termination date at the end of the year to July 18, closer to the potential monsoon season, at which point the closures will be re-evaluated. Several state parks also close today due to fire danger, including Santa Fe’s Hyde Memorial.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office yesterday relayed the contents of a discussion the governor had with President Joe Biden on Tuesday in which she “underscored the impacts of the fires on New Mexico communities and the need for ongoing partnership with the federal government as New Mexico recovers and rebuilds from some of the most devastating wildfires on record in the state.” According to the governor’s office, Lujan Grisham also invited the president to visit New Mexico and see “firsthand the impact of the wildfires and meet with affected New Mexicans, which the President said he intends to do.”
Santa Fe Reporter

Where Will the Water Come From?

CHROMO, COLORADO — A gray blanket mutes the normally green, vibrant mountains of southern Colorado where the Navajo River carves a path just miles from the New Mexico border. The suffocating smoke from a string of raging forest fires provides the most pressing evidence that the region’s climate is changing.