SANTA FE, New Mexico – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during a briefing Thursday that she would call a special session of the legislature next week as coronavirus cases hit a new all-time high in both New Mexico and Doña Ana County.
The governor said the goal of the special session would be to provide Covid-relief for businesses and people who have lost their jobs.
Lujan Grisham offered few details on her relief package, noting that she has been in discussions with legislative leaders and hoped funding would flow by next month.
Meantime, daily confirmed positive cases across the state swelled to a record 3,675 on Thursday, with 502 of those in Doña Ana County - which set a record for the third day in a row.
Officials said Las Cruces' 88001 zip code was among the top ten for new infections in the state for a second-straight day with 71 on Thursday.
The pandemic case total for New Mexico is now 74,116, with 11,289 of those from Doña Ana County.
The state also reported a dozen additional virus-related deaths on Thursday, with a 12-year-old child among those victims, the governor's health advisor Dr. David Scrase said. The state's death toll rose to 1,302.
In Doña Ana County, two women in their 90s were among the state's latest fatalities. Those raised the pandemic death total to 151 in Doña Ana County, with more than half of those total deaths (77) occurring over the last three weeks.
There were 774 New Mexicans currently hospitalized for Covid-related illness, with 125 on ventilators, as officials continued to express concern about the taxing of the state's hospital capacity.
New Mexico this week implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the country, attempting a “reset” on the outbreak, with closures extending to all restaurants and many other businesses.
As of Thursday, Lujan Grisham tightened a loophole in the health order, allowing big box stores to remain open as long as they offer essential goods and services.
The governor has been criticized for allowing chain stores like Walmart to allow in-person customers for nonessential purchases like TVs, along with essential ones like groceries, while small businesses selling only nonessential goods can't open.
Under the updated order, essential goods like food and animal feed now must account for more than one-third of a store’s revenue for it to allow customers inside. Bike stores and mechanic shops can stay open, as long as transportation-related goods and services make up half or more of their revenue.