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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's revamped public health order takes effect Monday, and some restaurant owners aren't happy that they've been ordered to rollback indoor dining. They say they've gone to great lengths to make their establishments safe and that the governor has offered no evidence that New Mexico's uptick in cases has anything to do with restaurant service. The New Mexico Restaurant Association has helped to organize an online petition and a statewide protest was planned later Monday. The state has reported more than 15,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began and hospitalizations saw a steep increase in the  past week.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials are reporting five additional coronavirus-related deaths as well as 45 more confirmed cases on the tribe's sprawling reservation. That pushes the death toll to 401 with the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 8,187 as of Sunday night. Tribal officials say 64,128 people on the reservation have been tested for the coronavirus and 5,856 people had COVID-19 but recovered. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The reservation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

  • OIL DOWNTURN-HOUSING

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — The crash of the oil business and the economic decline that has followed the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped construction for the housing shortage in the heart of New Mexico's oil region. The Hobbs News-Sun reports Hobbs, New Mexico, is seeing new construction with three major developments, and building continues to grow through the pandemic. On top of the lots and homes being sold, multiple companies are trying to meet the need for apartments. Real estate agents say that despite the oilfield crash, the region still has a housing shortage.

  • AP-LT-VENEZUELA-IMPRISONED-AMERICANS

MIAMI (AP) — Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson plans to travel this week to Venezuela to urge President Nicolás Maduro to free several jailed Americans as a goodwill gesture aimed at easing tensions with the U.S. Among the U.S. citizens jailed in Venezuela are two former Green Berets arrested in May while participating in a botched raid organized from neighboring Colombia to oust Maduro. Also being held are six oil executives from Houston-based Citgo who were lured to Caracas in 2017 for a meeting. Richardson and his center have negotiated the release of some 40 Americans held by hostile foreign governments and criminal organizations. 

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials in New Mexico are reporting an additional 262 additional COVID-19 cases and two more confirmed deaths. That increased the statewide death toll to 545 and the confirmed cases total to 15,028 as of Sunday. The New Mexico Department of Health says 111 of the additional cases were in Bernalillo County, the state's largest county that includes the Albuquerque metro area. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHILE FESTIVAL

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — This year's Hatch Chile Festival has been cancelled over coronavirus concerns. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports organizers recently announced that COVID-19 had forced the cancellation of the event for the first time in its 49-year history. The fiesta is usually held over Labor Day weekend in Hatch, New Mexico — the chile capital of the world. The festival's president said it would have been impossible to keep every area clean and disinfected at the event that normally hosts tens of thousands of people.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials reported 10 additional deaths from COVID-19 as the tribe's sprawling reservation remained under the latest weekend lockdown imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Tribal officials reported 56 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases that increased the total to nearly 8,100. The death toll rose to 396 as of Friday. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The lockdown began Friday night and ends at 5 a.m.  Monday. All businesses on the Navajo Nation are also required to close during the lockdown.  

  • AP-US-CORONAVIRUS-RELIEF-SPENDING-TRIBES

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Tribes across the country are wrestling with competing needs, restrictive laws and inadequate staffing as they try to meet a tight federal deadline on spending billions of dollars in virus relief funds. Congress set aside $8 billion for tribes that must be spent by the end of the year and meet strict federal guidelines. Otherwise, the tribes risk having to send it back. Officials on the vast Navajo Nation have received $714 million in aid but approved just $60 million for health care, protective equipment and front-line workers against the virus. Rifts between the tribal government's legislative and executive branches have delayed putting more of the money to use.