Coronavirus Update

Grant County Coronavirus Update – February 17th, 2021

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Grant County Coronavirus Update

February 17th, 2021

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    Grant County Coronavirus Update – February 17th, 2021 Marcus Hanson

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This week on Grant County Coronavirus Update, Jamie Newton hosts a panel of four experts on vaccination hesitancy and related topics on the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, Professor of Public Health at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, holds doctorates in clinical medicine and Health Education and Epidemiology. He is the lead author on a national assessment of COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in the United States that was published in January of 2021 – just last month – in the Journal of Community Health.

Dr. Fred Koster, MD, is a recently retired infectious diseases specialist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Koster’s career includes 50 years of immunology and vaccine research, with 35 years of clinical infection control and treatment. In the past 15 years, Dr. Koster has focused on vaccine research in pandemic viruses and severe bacterial infections.

Jeff Fell is Emergency Manager and Assistant Fire Chief of Silver City.

Dr. Renee Despres is a public health consultant and educator who resides in Silver City.

(Jeff Fell and Renee Despres are co-founders and coordinators of the Grant County Emerging Infectious Diseases Task Force.)

The program begins with an overview of the current status of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and New Mexico, the meaning of the term “herd immunity,” and the crucial importance of mass vaccinations in efforts to overcome the pandemic. We hear that in Grant County all available vaccine doses are being used to vaccinate people who satisfy New Mexico’s priority criteria (health care and other essential workers, and especially vulnerable people), with demand far exceeding supply.

The panelists discuss approaches to informing and reassuring people who may hesitate to be vaccinated, so that vaccinations will be accepted by a large majority of the community. Panelists explored the mistaken beliefs held by some people that they cannot be infected, or that if they are infected the illness will be harmless to them, as deterrents to vaccination.

These four experts will return next week to take up additional issues that are central to understanding and overcoming the pandemic, including the arrival of new and more infectious variants of the virus, the nature of viruses and how vaccinations work, prevention of infection by protection against the most common processes of contagion, and community education and support networks that are at work and being established in Grant County and the surrounding region.

Coronavirus Update is broadcast live on Gila/Mimbres Community Radio KURU 89.1 FM in Silver City every Wednesday at 10 AM.

Coronavirus Update is a local radio show that provides the latest information you need to know on local community strategies to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and protect yourself, your family and our community during this public health crisis. Brought to you by Gila/Mimbres Community Radio, Gila Resources Information Project, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Grant County and National Center for Frontier Communities.

Send us your updates to


NM Dept of Health COVID-19 Hotline 1-855-600-3453 or visit

Coronavirus Information Hotline at 1-833-551-0518 or visit

NM Crisis & Access Line, 24/7, 1-855-662-7474;

Donations to Community COVID-19 Response – Grant County Community Foundation

Grant County Coronavirus Update website –

Grant County, We Need You.  COVID-19 Video Message – link

Grant County Commissioner Alicia Edwards COVID-19 Video Message – link

State News

The New Mexico Department of Health on Tuesday announced 308 additional COVID-19 cases and 12 additional deaths related to the disease. 

There have been more than 180,000 cases of coronavirus reported in the state with  3550 total deaths as of Tuesday.

290 individuals remain hospitalized in New Mexico with the disease.


More than 303,000 people in the state have received their first dose of the two-shot vaccine for COVID-19, while 138,755 people have been fully vaccinated according to the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.  More than 625, 000 people throughout the state have registered for the vaccine so far. 


Grant County News

In Grant County, the Department of Health reported 69 new COVID cases since last week, for a total of 1435 cases.  

There are 778 reported COVID cases recovered, leaving 624 active cases in the county as of Tuesday, indicating a drop in active cases by 11, and 78 more people recovered.

There have been 2 reported deaths in Grant County since last week, bringing the total to 33 local deaths. 


Vaccine Information

New Mexicans with Disabilities Encouraged to Register for COVID-19 Vaccine

The Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) and Department of Health (DOH) have announced that individuals 16 years or older with intellectual and developmental disabilities are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. This group is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and includes individuals who utilize the DD Waiver, Mi Via Waiver, Medically Fragile Waiver, Supports Waiver, as well as any New Mexican on the waitlist for these services.

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities may register at or by calling 1 (800) 432-2080

State reiterates COVID-19 vaccine phase criteria

The New Mexico Department of Health continues to implement its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

New Mexico is currently in the first portion of Phase 1B – people 75 years and older and persons 16+ years of age with risk of COVID-19 complications. Health care professionals and other workers in Phase 1A remain eligible for vaccination. 

“New Mexico has two goals: to distribute vaccine as quickly as possible, and to ensure that vaccine goes to those who are most exposed – and most vulnerable – to COVID-19,” said DOH Secretary-Designate Dr. Tracie Collins.

New Mexicans who wish to follow the progress of the state’s vaccination campaign – or who wish to view a map of available provider locations – can visit the state’s vaccination dashboard at, which is updated Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).



COVID-19 Vaccine Registration

All New Mexicans are encouraged to register for the COVID-19 vaccine at 

There are 4 steps:

  1. Register at
  2. Complete your profile

——-> Wait for DMDOH to contact you ←——–

  1. Schedule your appointment
  2. Receive the Covid-19 vaccine

There’s also call center support for vaccine registration using the Department of Health hotline

The New Mexico Department of Health announced that the DOH hotline now offers support for questions surrounding vaccine registration.

Users who have questions or would like support with the registration process – including New Mexicans who do not have internet access – can dial 1-855-600-3453, press option 0 for vaccine questions, and then option 4 for tech support.

Users who have other vaccine-related questions can call 1-855-600-3453 and simply press option 0 for vaccine questions.


Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine helps your body learn how to defend itself from the disease.  You may feel uncomfortable for two or three days after you receive the vaccine. After being vaccinated, you may feel some side effects such as:

  •         Muscle pain
  •         Soreness in your arm
  •         Body aches
  •         Chills
  •         Feeling tired
  •         Fever

Side effects are a sign that your body is building up protection from COVID-19. They may be uncomfortable, but they are much less harmful than having COVID-19.

Red to Green Reopening Plan

The state’s red-to-green public health order in which counties are evaluated over a two-week period for daily cases and test positivity rate were updated last week. Counties not meeting daily case thresholds of eight or fewer cases per 100,000 population and test positivity rates below 5% follow the strictest red guidelines; those meeting one of these benchmarks have some expanded capacity; and green counties—those meeting both requirements —have the fewest restrictions.  

As of February 10, Grant County remains in the yellow category.  Applicable restrictions include:

  • Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but operations must be limited to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions
  • Essential retail spaces: 33% of maximum capacity
  • Food and drink establishments: 25% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoors dining; any establishment serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m. each night
  • Close-contact businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 20 customers at one time, whichever is smaller
  • Outdoor recreational facilities: 25% of maximum capacity (unless required to have less capacity under the state’s COVID-Safe Practices)
  • Close-contact recreational facilities: Remain closed
  • All other businesses: 25% of maximum capacity or 125 customers at one time, whichever is smaller
  • Houses of worship: May hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not exceed 33% of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises
  • Places of lodging: 60% of maximum occupancy for those that have completed NM Safe Certified training; 25% of maximum occupancy for all others; 5 guests maximum for vacation rentals
  • Mass gatherings limit: 10 persons, 80 vehicles


Safe Ways to Have Fun

Penny Park, other Silver playgrounds are now open

According to the Silver City Daily Press,  Penny Park and all playgrounds in town are now open to the public as of February 8. People using any of the town’s parks must abide by the state’s public health orders and the town’s local ordinance. Face coverings and social distancing are required.

Source: Silver City Daily Press, February 8, 2021 


Please consider getting tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Testing Sites and Times

Grant County Public Health Office, 2610 N. Silver Street Silver City, NM

Provides free testing every Tuesday from 8:00-10:00a.m., and from 2-4pm. Testing is free, but insurance will be requested upon registration at  

Once registered, you will receive a code. Please save this code and arrive during the designated times. Please remain in your vehicle and wear a mask.

Testing may be delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather

Hidalgo County Public Health Office, 530 DeMoss Street, Lordsburg, NM

Testing will be conducted every Thursday from 9:00-11:00a.m. Please remain in your vehicles. Testing is free, but insurance will be requested upon registration at at

Once registered, you will receive a code. Please save this code and arrive during the designated times. Please remain in your vehicle and wear a mask.

Testing may be delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather

CVS Pharmacy Drive-thru in Silver City, 610 Silver Heights Blvd., Silver City, NM.  

Patients will be required to stay in their cars and will be directed to the pharmacy drive-thru window

Patients must register in advance at Self-swab tests will be made available to individuals meeting CDC criteria, in addition to state and age guidelines. Testing is free, but those who have insurance should bring their card with them.

Albertsons – Silver City, New Mexico

Saliva Test- Cost $120.00 (not covered by insurance). Procedure: Recipients register online via the Albertson’s website, then receive a tube for saliva collection. The specimen is then mailed to a lab and results are sent back within three to five days.

Hidalgo Medical Services (HMS)

Testing is now available  Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 2:30pm (closed 12-1pm for lunch) in both Silver City  at 1007 Pope Street, and at their Lordsburg clinic on 530 De Moss Street.  

Testing expanded to everyone at both sites via a drive-up testing approach. Testing is free, but those who have insurance should bring their card with them. Call 575-388-1511 for an appointment in Silver City, 1-888-271-3596 for an appointment in Lordsburg.

HMS Mobile Testing Clinic

Thursday, February 18, 2021

HMS Gila/Cliff Clinic – 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.

415 NM-211, Gila


Monday, February 22, 2021

Dollar General – 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M (Closed 12:00-12:30 for lunch)

11988 US-180, Santa Clara


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Cobre High School parking lot – 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. (Closed 12:00-12:30 for lunch)

1100 Tom Foy Blvd, Bayard


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Tyrone Community Center – 9:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M.

50 Malachite, Tyrone


At-home, self-administered COVID-19 saliva test opportunities

At-home, self-administered COVID-19 saliva tests offer accurate laboratory-confirmed results returned within 24-48 hours of receipt of the sample.

The free tests are available to New Mexico residents regardless of exposure risk– whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic, and whether they have come into close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual or not.

To order a test, and for more information, visit

The State Department of Health reminds New Mexicans of the following

  • Please be patient after receiving your COVID-19 test. As cases rise, so do testing demands. After receiving your COVID-19 test, monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are having symptoms or if you tested because of an exposure, assume that you are infectious and self-isolate even if your symptoms resolve. You can spread the virus without knowing you are positive and without having symptoms.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, even if you are asymptomatic do not leave your home to do errands, work, or to see friends. If infected with COVID-19, you must not leave your home unless you are seeking out emergency medical care. Find more information regarging testing positive at
  • Finally, if you need emergency medical care, call 9-1-1, not the Department of Health information hotline.


Tax Assistance

It’s the beginning of the tax season. 

If you qualify for a 2020 Economic Stimulus Payment (EIP), also known as the individual payment from the COVID relief bill, but have not received it yet, make sure to claim your Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return. Visit for more information


Printed copies of the federal Form 1040, instruction books, and New Mexico tax forms are available outside the Silver City Public Library’s Cooper Street doors during curbside pickup hours. The AARP free tax assistance program packets are also available  in a box by the doors. You can also get online tax help from AARP or call the local AARP tax help number at 575-519-5988.

You can download tax forms here:

New Mexico tax forms can be found here:

Consider filing your taxes online at for federal and for New Mexico. You can receive your refund more quickly that way. The United Way offers free tax filing with expert assistance at


SNAP / EBT Benefits Expanded Through February

New Mexico households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits will receive the maximum amount for their household size for the month of February as the state continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New Mexico Human Services Department.

The emergency assistance will increase a household’s monthly benefit up to the maximum food benefit amount for their household size (see table below). SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these additional food benefits as they will be placed directly on their EBT cards.

SNAP recipients with a regular issuance date of Feb. 1-6, will receive a supplement on Feb. 6, 2021. SNAP recipients with a regular issuance date of Feb. 7-28, will receive their benefits and the supplement on their regular issuance date.

Since March of 2020, SNAP households that were not already receiving the maximum SNAP food benefit for their household size have received an increase bringing their food benefits to the maximum amount each month. These increases were made to help reduce food insecurity for New Mexicans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals seeking to apply for SNAP benefits may apply online through or by phone at 1-800-283-4465. Newly approved SNAP recipients will be eligible for the supplemental benefit.



Double your SNAP Benefits at Silver City Farmers Market 

Silver City Farmers’ Market accepts EBT and Pandemic-EBT cards and offers Double Up Food Bucks to double your SNAP benefits. Use your EBT card and get half off all purchases. 

Winter Farmers’ Market is held weekly every Saturday 9 am — 12 pm,  at the corner of Pope St. and College Avenue in the old Life Quest parking lot.

Food Pantry Schedules

As a reminder the Food Pantries at the Gospel Mission and St. Francis Newman Center are open every week

The Gospel Mission, 111 South Texas Street, Silver City, NM

open for drive thru only on Wednesdays 8:30 am – 9:30 am. Emergency  Dry Food Boxes are available once a month to individuals upon request.   There is also a Daily soup kitchen: Breakfast takes place from 9:00-10:00 Mon-Fri and Lunch occurs every day from 12-1 pm. Showers and clothes are also made available to those in need.  Call 575 388-5071 for more information.

St. Francis Newman Center Food Pantry, 914 W. 13th St. Silver City, NM

Open every Monday at 4 pm. Cash assistance for rent, utilities, bus passes and prescription drugs is also provided.  Call 575-388-4933 for more information.

The Commons Center for Food Security and Sustainability 

The next regular food pantry distribution for Silver City, Tyrone and Arenas Valley will be next Wednesday, February 24th from 4pm-6pm.  The Commons is located at 501 East 13th Street, next door to Knights of Columbus. For more information please contact The Commons at 575-388-2988 or visit the website

Consumer Debt/Bankruptcy Workshop

The New Mexico State Bar is holding a consumer debt/bankruptcy workshop from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, via video and teleconference.

At the workshop, an attorney will give a group presentation on bankruptcy, according to a news release. After the presentation, a one-on-one free consultation will be given by phone to people who register in advance. Call 505-797-6094 to register.

Unemployment Assistance

Weekly certifications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs under the Continued Assistance Act (CAA) will begin on February 7, 2021. On that date, the link to file an initial claim, reopen your claim, or file your weekly certification will appear on your Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimant homepage. 

On that date, eligible claimants will be able to certify for retroactive payments starting with the week ending January 2, 2021. Each eligible week will also include the additional $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payment along with the weekly benefit amount received. 

If you are an individual filing or certifying for benefits, you can log into your Unemployment Insurance account at

Utility Assistance

PNM is extending help for families, small businesses and nonprofits struggling to pay their electric bill. The PNM COVID Customer Relief Fund helps eligible customers pay down, or even pay off, their past-due PNM bill.

The funding has been extended to March 31, 2021, due to the number of customers that are still experiencing financial hardship from the pandemic. Apply by calling PNM at 855-364-2950 between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday or go to  

Business Assistance

Paycheck Protection Program

If you need assistance in navigating the process for the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP or any other relief programs, please contact the Las Cruces office of Senator Martin Heinrich at (575) 523-6561 for assistance. You can also visit his Covid-19 Resource Center at

The next round of new PPP funds  is open for applications.

This latest round will be much easier for small businesses to access, with some necessary flexibility to allow businesses to address their specific needs and still get their loans forgiven. That includes new provisions that allow restaurants, hotels, and other businesses in related services to calculate a higher PPP forgivable loan amount in order to aid industries that have been severely impacted by state and local restrictions. Also eligible for this round of PPP are housing cooperatives, local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters, and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, including local chambers of commerce and tourism organizations.

>>>You can find more information about how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program at

COVID disaster loan extended through 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for the COVID-19 pandemic disaster declaration has been extended to Dec. 31, 2021.

If you are a small business, nonprofit organization of any size, or a U.S. agricultural business with 500 or fewer employees that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, you can apply for the COVID-19 EIDL.

EIDL loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021 pending the availability of funds. Loans are offered at a 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses and a 2.75 percent interest rate for nonprofit organizations, with a 30-year maturity and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin.

Eligible small businesses and nonprofits can apply for the program at

Mental Health Resources

In New Mexico, you can talk to trained staff if you have mental health or substance abuse concerns: call the NM Crisis and Access Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) 24 hours a day/7 days a week. You are not alone and it is normal to feel anxious and worried! You can confidentially reach out to talk to someone anytime and anyplace. 


If you want to hurt yourself, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Call 911 if you are in an EMERGENCY SITUATION.  If you feel like you’re going to hurt yourself, it is an emergency!

If You Just Want Someone to Hear You Out…

Call the Peer-to-Peer Warmline at (855) 466-7100.  They are available to talk every day from 3:30p – 11:30p MT.  They are available by text from 6:00p – 11:00p MT

Written by: Marcus Hanson

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