New Mexico’s number of new daily cases of COVID-19 reached a new record high Thursday as health officials warned the state could be in crisis mode before the end of the year if the growth in cases continues.
The New Mexico Health Department reported 1,082 new cases in its daily update Thursday, topping the previous record high of 875 on Saturday.
Chaves County reported 32 new cases in Thursday’s update, bringing its total to 2,066 cases. The state’s total is now at 44,904.
In an update on modeling data livestreamed on the New Mexico Human Services Department Facebook page Thursday afternoon, Dr. Jason Mitchell, chief medical officer for Presbyterian Healthcare Services, said if, starting today, everyone in the state followed COVID- 19 safe practices perfectly, in mid-November the state would reach a peak of 150 occupied ICU beds but then start to trend downward.
“Unfortunately the data does not support that that’s what’s occurring,” he said.
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“Strikingly in mid-November, we would really be turning on the crisis standards of care” if trends continue as they have, he said, explaining that would mean no elective medical care and surgeries.
By mid-December, New Mexico would have so many hospitalized cases of COVID-19, people would be treated in mobile medical tents, he said.
He emphasized it’s important now for people to practice social distancing, wash their hands, wear masks and avoid social gatherings.
“We’re not past the tipping point. We have the ability to bring this curve back down,” he said.
In its daily update Thursday, the state reported 323 people are hospitalized for COVID-19. Eighty percent of general beds in New Mexico hospitals are occupied and 75% of ICU beds are filled. Those percentages include patients treated for COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Twenty-nine counties and three correctional facilities reported new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, led by Bernalillo County with 260 and Doña Ana County with 248.
Luna County reported 106 cases, Lea County 67, Santa Fe County 51, Valencia County 49, Sandoval County 41, Cibola County 36, Curry County 28, McKinley County 25, Eddy County 24, San Juan and Taos counties 17, Otero County had 14, Rio Arriba County had 12, and Socorro County 11. Twelve other counties had fewer than 10 cases each.
The Otero County Processing Center and Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County each had two new cases, and the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County had one.
Three deaths related to COVID-19 were reported Thursday — a man in his 70s in Bernalillo County, a man in his 90s from Grant County and a woman in her 20s from Sandoval County. Two were hospitalized and all had underlying health conditions.
Chaves County’s average number of new daily cases during the two-week period of Oct. 13 to 26 is 48.7 per 100,000 people and its test positivity rate is 11.3%, both above the state’s targets for gating criteria for opening of schools and the economy. Those targets are fewer than eight cases per day per 100,000 people and a test positivity rate lower than 5%.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or email@example.com.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.