Chaves County is still in the Red Level but recent lower numbers of new cases improved its gating criteria metrics in Wednesday’s update of the New Mexico Department of Health’s Red to Green COVID-19 risk assessment system. The county continued a low report of new cases while the state overall saw an increase in Wednesday’s daily case update.
From Dec. 29 to Jan. 13, the county had an average of 85.6 new daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, down from 98.2 in the previous two-week reporting period. Test positivity improved to 17.51% from 20.62%.
In order to move from the very high-risk Red Level to the high-risk Yellow Level, a county must have an average of eight or fewer cases per day or a test positivity rate of 5% or less. To move to the medium-risk Green Level, a county must have both an average of fewer than eight cases per day and a test positivity rate of 5% or less.
Two counties in northeast New Mexico were the only ones to change the color of the map from all red in Wednesday’s update. Harding County moved into the Green Level with no new cases and a test positivity rate of 0% from Dec. 29 to Jan. 13.
Harding County has a population of 625 people, according to U.S. Census Bureau 2019 estimates, and has had a total of eight cases since March according to the NMDOH COVID-19 dashboard.
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Its neighbor in the northeast corner of the state, Union County, moved into the Yellow Level with an average of 22.7 new cases per day and a test positivity rate of 3.8%. The county has an estimated population of 4,059 people as of 2019 Census estimates. There has been a total of 204 COVID-19 cases in the county, according to the health department dashboard.
In Wednesday’s daily update, new cases of COVID-19 were up slightly statewide compared to the past several days of less than 1,000 while Chaves County saw one of its lowest recent reports and no deaths.
Thirty counties and four correctional centers reported 1,151 new cases. Chaves County reported 17.
Bernalillo County reported the most cases with 352, followed by Doña Ana at 127 and San Juan County at 102.
The state’s total number of COVID-19 cases since March is 159,119. Chaves County’s total is 7,604.
Thirteen deaths related to COVID-19 were reported statewide. Four were in Bernalillo County; two in Doña Ana County; and Cibola, Eddy, Grant, Luna, Roosevelt, and Santa Fe counties each reported one death. The Guadalupe County Correctional Facility also reported the death of an inmate.
The total number of deaths in the state is 2,807.
As of Wednesday, 702 people are hospitalized in the state for COVID-19.
In other data from the risk assessment update, several other counties also saw improvements in their rates.
The counties of Bernalillo, Cibola, Guadalupe, Harding, Lea, Mora, Roosevelt, San Miguel, Socorro, Torrance, Union and Valencia saw improvements in their per-capita new daily case rate, with Harding, Mora, Union, Socorro and Roosevelt making the greatest improvements by percentage.
Also seeing improvements in test positivity rates were the counties of Bernalillo, Cibola, Curry, Harding, Lea, Los Alamos, Mora, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union and Valencia, with Harding, Union, Socorro, Mora and Roosevelt making the greatest improvements by percentage.
Twenty counties saw increases in their per-capita daily case rates: Catron, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra and Taos, with Catron, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Sierra and Quay seeing the greatest increases by percentage.
McKinley County has the highest average daily per-capita case rates, at 104.9 per 100,000 as of Wednesday. It is followed by San Juan County (103.4), Eddy County (102.4), Chaves County (85.6) and Lea County (84.8).
Over the past two weeks, 17 counties saw their test positivity rate increase. Those counties are: Catron, Colfax, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Sierra, with Catron, Quay, Lincoln, De Baca and Otero seeing the greatest increases by percentage.
De Baca County has the highest positivity rate in the state, with 31.25 percent of tests returning positive as of Wednesday. It is followed by Lea County (30.69 percent), Eddy County (27.26 percent), Catron County (20.69 percent) and McKinley County (20.41).
Eleven counties, one-third of the state’s counties, reported a positivity rate below 10 percent, close to the state threshold of 5 percent.
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/.