Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials with two of New Mexico's largest hospitals say they have yet to see a reprieve from the latest wave of patients needing care. Officials with Presbyterian Healthcare Services and University of New Mexico Hospital said during a briefing Thursday that COVID-19 patients make up about one-fifth of hospitalizations while the majority of patients are in for other illnesses. Despite the recent enactment of crisis standards of care, they said they haven't denied or rationed care but are focusing on medically necessary procedures. Hospital officials also acknowledged that health care staffing shortages were an issue in New Mexico long before the pandemic.
- BORDER-MIGRANT CAMPS
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — A nighttime operation to erect chain-link fencing and impose a registry may have been the beginning of the end for a migrant camp in Tijuana, Mexico, that blocks a major pedestrian crossing to the United States. But there may be more camps to follow. First lady Jill Biden sharply criticized a similar camp in Matamoros, Mexico, on a 2019 visit, saying, "It's not who we are as Americans." The Biden administration touted its work closing that camp in March, but new ones have sprung up in Tijuana and Reynosa.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Going a step beyond federal guidance, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she believes being fully vaccinated means three shots and all who are eligible should get boosters. She spoke during a pandemic briefing Wednesday, citing the increasing number of COVID-19 infections among residents who received their vaccinations over six months ago. State health officials have been concerned about waning immunity and the role it has played in the recent increase in cases. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said he expects a new health order on what fully vaccinated means in the coming weeks. Some cities and states already allow all adults to get boosters of Pfizer's vaccine, but it is not yet official U.S. policy.
- PANDEMIC RELIEF-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the state Legislature deserves a leading role in spending decisions about more than $1 billion in federal pandemic aid. The high court on Wednesday delivered a rebuke to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her attempt to forgo the legislative process in deciding how to spend a major round of pandemic relief funding. A bipartisan group of state senators challenged the first-term Democratic governor in the high-stakes constitutional clash. Democratic state Sen. Jacob Candelaria teamed up with Republican Senate minority leader Gregory Baca. They said decisions about $1.7 billion in pandemic spending are too important for only the governor to decide.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 96 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one coronavirus-related death. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's total to 38,490 cases since the pandemic started and 1,515 known deaths. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has urged residents of the vast reservation to be careful when traveling to neighboring cities and states where safety measures aren't always as strict. The tribe has maintained a mask mandate through most of the pandemic. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- GOVERNOR APPOINTMENTS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's governor is naming new advisers on water, infrastructure and broadband. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the appointments Wednesday after President Joe Biden signed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. She's appointing former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez to work with communities around the state to set priorities for the $3.7 billion in federal infrastructure money that's bound for New Mexico. Lujan Grisham also says the state will have a broadband adviser soon. She also said the head of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, Mike Hamman, will serve as her water adviser starting in January. He will replace John D'Antonio, who will be stepping down.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The massive infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed this week includes billions of dollars to address long-standing issues with water and sanitation on tribal land. The Indian Health Service says it will consult with tribes on how best to use the $3.5 billion. The amount is enough to fulfill the more than 1,560 projects on the agency's list of sanitation deficiencies. Tribes welcomed the infusion of money but say sustained investments are needed to make up for decades of neglect and underfunding. The bill also includes funding for broadband in Indian Country, tribal water rights settlements, roads and climate resilience.
- PROP FIREARM-SHOOTING-LAWSUIT
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A new lawsuit alleges that Alec Baldwin recklessly fired a gun when it wasn't called for in the script when he shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the film "Rust." The lawsuit filed Wednesday, from script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, is the second to stem from the shooting. It says she was standing next to Hutchins and within 4 feet of the actor, and was stunned when he fired the gun that killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. Representatives for the defendants had no immediate comment.