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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

  • New Mexico reports 262 more COVID-19 cases, 2 more deaths

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.

  • Santa Fe Community College expects 25% enrollment drop

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Community College is expecting a 25 percent drop in enrollment this fall as students and prospective students battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports college officials said last week the enrollment decline will come as many classes remain online and the economic downturn is forcing students to prioritize paychecks over degrees. New Mexico health officials reported 262 additional COVID-19 deaths and two more confirmed cases Sunday. That increased the statewide death toll to 545 and the confirmed cases total to 15,028.

  • Housing construction steady in New Mexico's oil region

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.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHILE FESTIVAL

Amid pandemic, Hatch Chile Festival canceled for 1st timeLAS 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.

  • Navajo Nation reports 10 additional deaths from COVID-19

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.  

  • Tribes struggle to meet deadline to spend virus relief aid

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.

  • No COVID-19 around these parts, for 1 New Mexico county

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — As New Mexico rolled out increased precautions to combat a spike in COVID-19 cases, two rural counties had not had a single confirmed case since the outbreak began. That changed Friday when Mora County reported its first. De Baca County remains at zero. Residents with underlying medical conditions fear their neighbors are using the statistic to lower their guard, gather in groups and go without masks. Others are growing impatient as they're forced to follow health guidelines in a place where the threat hasn't revealed itself. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has cited accelerating rates of infection across large expanses of the state for new restrictions and the rolling back of restaurant reopenings.

  • 'Cowboys for Trump' ordered to pay fines, register as group

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico group, Cowboys for Trump has been ordered to register as a political committee in the state, and pay $7,600 in fines for not filing expenditure reports. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Friday in a letter to the group's lawyers that if it fails to comply she will refer the matter to the state Ethics Commission for civil enforcement of the fine, Cowboys for Trump has protested the requirements because it argues campaign finance laws violate free speech, and the group doesn't meet the definition of a political committee.