Rep. Xochitl Torres Small announced nearly $6 million in funding for New Mexico on March 13, as part of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus.
The influx of funding will come from the emergency spending bill that passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Many health centers and hospitals in Torres-Small’s district are expected to receive extra funding, including the Ben Archer Health Center in Hatch, the Debaca Family Practice Clinic in Fort Sumner and La Casa De Buena Salud in Portales among others.
“As public health officials work around the clock to respond to the coronavirus public health emergency, the $6 million in CDC funding is a welcome first step in supporting New Mexico’s efforts to keep our communities healthy and safe. I will continue to coordinate efforts with Tribal, state, and federal leaders, work to provide consistent federal support to our first responders, and closely monitor the distribution of these resources,” said Torres Small in a statement.
Federal funding and resources are sorely needed in all states, which are dealing with severe cases of COVID-19. Soon after the funding was announced, Torres Small highlighted the loss of a community member who succumbed to the coronavirus.
“This tragedy highlights the seriousness and extreme cost of COVID-19 and why we’ve got to use the best practices put forth by the New Mexico Department of Health and CDC, including social distancing to keep ourselves, our loved ones, neighbors, and strangers alike safe,” she wrote in a tweet. “We must address this public health emergency with the collective urgency it requires.”
Torres Small has continued to work for additional support and resources for her district, with a special focus on the needs of rural communities. On March 26, she sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, writing that rural areas “are already struggling to efficiently manage the current public health crisis as it unfolds,” and that physicians are “reporting shortages of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.”
She went on to push for inter-agency communication, a pooling of resources and assistance from FEMA.