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Region Briefs: 5 cases of West Nile Virus ID’d in NM


Five cases of West Nile Virus were identified in residents of Bernalillo, Doña Ana and Taos counites, the New Mexico Department of Health reported on Sept. 17.

So far this year, no deaths due to West Nile Virus have been reported.

Recent rains have left standing water, which make excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes that spread the disease.

Although there is no vaccine for West Nile Virus, New Mexicans can take precautions to reduce their chances of contracting the disease:

• Regularly drain standing water, including water collecting in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters, saucers under potted plants, birdbaths, wading pools, and pets’ water bowls.
• Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
• Avoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Always apply an approved insect repellent every time they go outside and follow the instructions on the label.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus can include fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Other, more serious symptoms, include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis.

People 60 years and older and those with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease along with people who have had organ transplants are at higher risk of developing severe illness.

If people have symptoms and suspect West Nile Virus infection, they should contact their health-care provider.

Information: West Nile Virus section of the NMDOH website.

Northern Arizona Healthcare announces vaccine requirement

FLAGSTAFF – Facing another surge in infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Northern Arizona Healthcare decided require its full workforce to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 31.

This decision is consistent with NAH’s mission and follows significant study, discussion and consideration. There will be a process to apply for certain medical and religious exemptions.

The decision came right before President Biden’s announcement that staff within Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities, like NAH, will be required to be COVID-19 vaccinated.

Flo Spyrow, Northern Arizona Healthcare’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Providing the safest environment for those who come to us for care, as well as for our colleagues, is how we live up to the trust our communities place in us.”

The Sept. 13 announcement also aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Coconino County Health Department, the Yavapai County Health Department and other governing organizations across the state of Arizona that have strongly recommended COVID-19 vaccine requirements for all.

Currently, about 80% of NAH colleagues have indicated that they have already become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or intend to receive the vaccination.

New resources for homelessness coming to Flagstaff


FLAGSTAFF – New resources for families experiencing homelessness are coming to Flagstaff.

Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona announced Tuesday that funding received from the Arizona Department of Housing will enable them to purchase and rehab a 44-unit hotel in Flagstaff.

HSNA officially purchased the Travelodge property at the 2900 block of East Route 66 on Monday, and will turn the property into studio apartments, each with its own kitchens and bathrooms.

The property will be part of a new transitional housing program, aimed at helping homeless families to secure safe, decent and affordable housing while having access to wrap-around support services to transition to permanent stable housing.

The money will come from the Community Development Block Grant, which was part of CARES Act funding passed by Congress. Once the property is renovated and up to code, it will be open for residents in the late spring or early summer of 2022.

Penn receives $1.3M Getty grant to preserve Wupatki National Monument

LOS ANGELES – The Center for Architectural Conservation at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design has received a $1.3 million grant from the Getty Foundation to develop a conservation and management plan and professional training program for Wupatki National Monument in Arizona.

The site and its sister monuments, Walnut Canyon and Sunset Crater Volcano, have a well-preserved archeological record, geographical diversity, and ancestral significance to Northern Arizona Native communities.

All three monuments are units of the National Park Service, a partner of Penn’s Center for Architectural Conservation.

Once home to the ancestors of the Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, Yavapai, Havasupai, Hualapai, and several bands of Apache and Paiute, the Wupatki landscape holds a precious record of migration, trade, and other practices dating back to the 11th century.

As part of the project, the Penn team and partners will expand professional training, cultural heritage education, and career discovery opportunities for Native youth focused on the conservation of Native American ancestral sites, including a 12-week summer program in partnership with Conservation Legacy’s Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps.

The program will incorporate fieldwork, job shadowing, and mentoring by cultural resources advisors from Northern Arizona tribes and a 10-week summer internship program for Native degree-seeking students through Northern Arizona University.


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