Home News COVID-19 Situation NM surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 cases

NM surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 cases

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New Mexico pushed its total number of COVID-19 cases since March to over 100,000 and reported a record number of deaths related to the virus on Wednesday. Two of the deaths were from Chaves County.

Also on Wednesday, the state started its new county-by-county risk assessment system with all but one county in the red zone at the highest risk of viral spread. No counties met the criteria to move into the green zone of medium risk.

Thirty-one counties and five correctional facilities reported a total of 1,549 new cases in Wednesday’s update from the New Mexico Department of Health, including 130 in Chaves County.

The state’s total number of cases to date is now 100,963, making it the 37th state to pass that milestone. Chaves County’s total number of cases to date is now 4,974 and deaths number 43. The Roswell Correctional Center has reported 223 cases.

Forty deaths were reported in New Mexico Wednesday. They included a woman in her 50s and a man in his 70s from Chaves County. Both had been hospitalized and had underlying conditions, according to the press release.

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Of the other deaths, Bernalillo and Doña Ana counties had six; McKinley County had five; Sandoval County had four; Lea, Luna and San Juan counties each had three; and Cibola, Curry, Eddy, Otero, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, Santa Fe and Valencia counties each had one.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a statement on passing the 100,000 mark in COVID-19 cases, saying she prays every day for New Mexicans with the virus and their families, as well as the health care providers, first responders and their families.

She also gave a warning to expect more difficult times.

“There can be no doubt: We are headed for a painful winter. More New Mexicans will contract this virus and fall seriously ill. Some will lose their lives. Today alone we lost 40 New Mexicans to this virus. We cannot become numb to this tragedy,” Lujan Grisham said.

“But I am reminded and hope to remind you, even as we reach this grim milestone, of two inescapable, essential facts. It is within our power to reverse the deadly trajectory of this pandemic. And we, as one united state, are more than up to the challenge,” she said.

The state’s new “Red to Green” framework of COVID-19 risk assessment went into effect Wednesday, with 32 counties categorized as very high risk for the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As with the previous notices, counties are categorized as very high risk — indicated by the color red — if they have an average of more than eight new cases per day per 100,000 people and a percent of positive tests greater than 5% over a two-week period.

To meet the requirements for the yellow category, or high risk, a county must have either an average of less than eight new cases a day per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 5% or less.

Los Alamos County, which was in the yellow, was pushed into the red because of a rising test positivity rate. When a county moves into a higher risk category, the greater restrictions on activities must be enacted within 48 hours. Los Alamos County had an average of 20.8 cases per day and a test positivity rate of 6% in Wednesday’s update.

San Miguel County met the criteria to move from red to yellow through at least Dec. 16, when the two-week data will again be updated. When a county moves to a category of decreased risk, the less restrictive measures on activity take effect immediately. San Miguel County has had 32.2 cases on average with a 5% test positivity rate.

In the updated two-week reporting data, from Nov. 17 to Nov. 30, Chaves County saw an increase in both its average number of daily cases and test positivity.

According to the NMDOH COVID-19 dashboard, the county had 174.7 new daily cases per 100,000 people on average, up from 151.1 in the previous report. Test positivity is 25.4%, up from 23.3%.

Only McKinley County has a higher average of daily cases, at 181.8. Three other counties have higher test positivity rates — Lea County at 32%, Curry County at 30.1% and Luna County at 26.6%.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

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