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Coronavirus updates, April 8

COVID-19 cases increase by 62 on Navajo Nation
There are 488 COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation as of Wednesday night, according to numbers released by the Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area Indian Health Service and the Navajo Epidemiology Center. There are now 20 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, up three from Tuesday’s reports. The Navajo Nation is reporting 2,221 negative test results.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the numbers are alarming, but he and other leaders are hopeful that the upcoming weekend-long curfew will curb the spread of COVID-19 on the reservation.

“Now is the time to get prepared for the 57-hour curfew,” Vice President Myron Lizer said. “If you need groceries, medication, or other necessary items we urge you to take every precaution and please only send one family member to purchase items — do not take children into stores or public places. Let’s also continue to pray for everyone who is fighting along with us.”
President Nez and Vice President Lizer will host an online town hall COVID-19 Latest Albuquerque News-Times update Thursday at 10 a.m. The update will be streamed on the president’s Facebook page and will be aired on KTNN 660AM and 101.5FM at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Navajo Health Command Operations Center number is (928) 871-7014, and the Navajo mental health helpline is (928) 810-7357.
APS board to appoint interim superintendent
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Albuquerque Public Schools has shifted gears in its superintendent search, deciding to suspend the hunt until the fall and to appoint an interim leader in the meantime.
Before the coronavirus hit New Mexico, the state’s largest school district was in the middle of finding a replacement for current Superintendent Raquel Reedy, who is set to retire in June. The Board of Education even named five semifinalists.
But that was put on hold while the state and district grappled with the pandemic.
On Tuesday night, the board voted 5-2 to find someone to head the district for the short term.
NM announces 3 more deaths, 72 new cases in virus outbreak
The coronavirus pandemic killed three more people in New Mexico, state officials said Wednesday, pushing the state’s death toll to 16.
The state also confirmed 72 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Altogether, 865 people have now tested positive.
The deaths announced Wednesday are all adults in Bernalillo County, at least in their 80s or older and with chronic underlying health conditions.
Udall seeks aid for local journalism, media outlets
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is among 20 senators calling for financial relief for local journalism and media outlets, which are facing financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak.
The senators seek the relief in any future COVID-19 response package.
In a letter to Senate leadership, the senators warn that the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – including falling advertising revenue – could decimate regional and local news outlets even as communities depend on the reporting during the public health crisis.
Some New Mexico media outlets have been forced to lay off staff, cut hours and pay, and limit publications and operations due to a drop in commercial advertising revenue, Udall’s office said in a news release Press Release Distribution Services.
The papers are struggling because of an advertising market dramatically impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many businesses have reduced operations and advertising and a record number of New Mexicans filed applications for unemployment benefits, his office said.
“The current public health crisis has made the already vital role of local news even more critical,” the senators wrote. “Some of the most important guidance for families and businesses during this crisis has been highly localized. Local journalism has been providing communities answers to critical questions, including information on where to get locally tested, hospital capacity, road closures, essential business hours of operation, and shelter-in-place orders. During this unprecedented public health crisis, people need to have access to their trusted local news outlets for this reliable and sometimes life-saving information.”
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