Alibi V.29 No.27 • July 2-8, 2020 

Newscity

Hospitalizations Down, Cases Up

The News Monkey

Hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 continue to drop in New Mexico. But despite the positive trends, the governor is still halting phase two of reopening.

According to KTSM statewide hospitalizations of novel coronavirus patients dropped to 122 people last week, compared to 211 people in May. According to KVIA the entire state currently has less hospitalizations than El Paso, Texas.

But last week Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that the state will be delaying phase two of reopening as the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has been rising since early June. The Santa Fe New Mexican also reports that the disease transmission rate—based largely on identified positives—has risen to 1.12, which is above the target rate of 1.05.

However, a recent study by Stanford researchers that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that tracking the number of new cases is only useful for analyzing COVID-19 testing efforts—not for tracking the actual spread of the virus. In “Measure What Matters: Counts of hospitalized patients are a better metric for health system capacity planning for a reopening,” the authors wrote that tracking average hospitalization rates is much more reliable than tracking the number of new cases, since case counts rely on testing efforts. “Without using local hospitalization rates and the age distribution of positive patients, current models are likely to overestimate the resource burden of COVID-19,” the authors wrote. “It is imperative that health systems start using these data to quantify effects of [Stay-In-Place orders] and aid reopening planning.”

Judge to Reconsider State Education Case

A state district court judge will reconsider the ruling of a case that accused New Mexico of failing to provide adequate education for children.

In 2018 Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the state was violating the New Mexico constitution by not providing children with a “uniform statewide system of free public schools sufficient for their education.” According to KRQE Gov. Lujan Grisham is now asking that the case be dismissed because the Public Education Department has different leadership now, and the system has changed.

Spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett told the Associated Press, “The intent of the motion to dismiss is not to disagree with the critically necessary rebuilding and restructuring of New Mexico’s public education—it is to ensure that educational policy is set by education experts, not by court decree.”

On Monday First District Judge Matthew Wilson rejected the governor’s request. He ruled that the changes made to the state’s school system have not been substantial enough to dismiss the case.

Governor Pardons 19 Prisoners

Gov. Lujan Grisham issued executive clemency to a number of New Mexico prisoners last week.

According to KOB the freed prisoners were convicted of nonviolent crimes including forgery, drug possession, burglary, larceny, issuing a worthless check and conspiracy. The governor said all the offenses were at least a decade old.

These were the first gubernatorial pardons given in New Mexico since 2012.