Check this page for the Daily Lobo's updated testing and confirmed case data for the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico, thanks to the COVID Tracking Project. This page will be updated daily as more data is produced and reported.

The Albuquerque Development Commission (ADC) approved a request Monday from Netflix for an additional $24 million in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds and a $500 million Industrial Revenue Bond (IRB). If approved by the Albuquerque City Council in early December, this would expand the Mesa del Sol campus by 300 acres and establish Albuquerque as the primary Netflix production site in North America.

The “third wave” of COVID-19 has left New Mexico hospitals at maximum capacity as cases have grown at an exponential rate across the state.

As of Thursday morning, five refrigerated trailers or “mobile morgues” were parked and operating in one of the parking lots of the University of New Mexico Hospital. These trailers were recently moved back to a parking lot near Camino De Salud and University and have been in operation since March.

“As part of (UNMH’s influenza plan), the Office of the Medical Investigator has been provided with climate controlled storage options,” according to Mark Rudi, a UNM Health Sciences spokesperson. “These storage options have been utilized since the spring and are managed in a collaborative effort between OMI and the New Mexico Department of Health.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, students at the University of New Mexico have experienced a great deal of loss, whether the loss of a loved one, a relationship, loss of social life or activities, or even the loss of university life when they graduate and move on.

In order to help students cope with these losses, Dr. Stephanie McIver, a clinical psychologist and counseling director at UNM’s Student Health and Counseling, recently hosted a workshop called “Coping With Endings.”

The workshop aimed to help students understand the myriad of losses and endings they may experience and teach coping strategies to make a healthy transition to the next phase of their lives.

As war on drugs winds down, New Mexico at a crossroads

Following the recent legislation in Oregon to decriminalize all drugs and other states like neighboring Arizona voting to legalize recreational marijuana, the focus in New Mexico has turned once again to the state’s policies in regard to illicit substances. Some are hopeful for a future with a harm-reduction approach as the beginning of the end of the war on drugs.

“It’s the start of a new era,” a University of New Mexico student familiar with illicit substances, who requested to be referred to as AJ to protect his privacy, said.

As psychoactive substances — like cannabis and psychedelics — are decriminalized at the state level, legalization advocates and some medical experts are hopeful more clinical research on the potential benefits these substances have will follow.

Medication assisted treatment faces roadblocks in opioid addiction fight

In light of the decriminalization of hard drugs in Oregon, New Mexicans may finally warm up to medication assisted treatment for substance abuse disorders.

A recent study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that “buprenorphine and methadone in particular reduce fatal opioid overdose rates by 50–70%, reduce illicit drug use, increase treatment retention and improve psychosocial outcomes.”

While the D.A.R.E. campaign enthusiastically warned students about the dangers of drug use in the late 90’s, “pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers,” according to the National Institutes of Health.

Agora Crisis Center celebrates 50th anniversary

The Agora Crisis Center, opened on the University of New Mexico’s campus in the 1970s, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

According to the Agora website, the crisis center was “one of the first crisis centers of its kind,” formed in response to a student who took their own life after unsuccessfully seeking help.

The organization’s goal from its inception has been to provide an outlet for anyone who needs to talk to someone, with a focus on providing support to UNM students.

KUNM news director and reporter Hannah Colton dies at 29

The tight-knit journalism community in New Mexico lost a luminescent figure on Tuesday. Hannah Colton, the news director at KUNM and a pillar of the press corps in the state, died at the age of 29 on Nov. 10.

The sense of loss was tremendous as the news of Colton’s passing was announced on KUNM on Wednesday night.

“The KUNM community is heartbroken to say that news director Hannah Colton died earlier this week at age 29,” KUNM reporter and producer Marisa Demarco said. “She has been a brilliant news leader during the pandemic, guiding the team and editing stories about the virus, the calls to stop racist policing and the 2020 election.”

City introduces pawnbroker ordinance in attempt to deter property crime

On Monday Nov. 2, the Albuquerque City Council approved the Pawnbroker Ordinance — sponsored by Councillor Diane Gibson — in an attempt to crack down on the resale of stolen goods.

As recently as 2017, the FBI listed Albuquerque as the city with the highest rate of property crime in the nation. Though rates have come down in recent years, the City of Albuquerque still reported 10,271 larceny or theft offenses in 2020 at the mid-year point.

Albuquerque Police Department representatives said that the ordinance would address property crime rates by increasing the number of cases that are eligible for prosecution, increasing the conviction rates of cases sent to the District Attorney's Office and helping to recover stolen firearms.

Grad student union effort nears threshold for recognition

University of New Mexico graduate student workers reported on Friday that more than 40% of eligible graduate workers have signed union cards. The union needs 50% plus one in order to appeal to the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) to form a union.

“More cards have been coming in ... We have broken 700 cards, and there are 1,600 graduate students. And so, a simple majority is 800,” Emigdio Turner, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate at UNM and union organizing committee member, said during a Zoom breakout session with STEM graduate students on Friday. “(But), we would be looking to go much further past that to demonstrate unilateral support.”

Also on The Lobo