Home News COVID-19 Situation NM health officials discuss downward trend in virus cases

NM health officials discuss downward trend in virus cases

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New Mexico has reported fewer than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day since Jan. 19, and state health officials say they believe the downward trend is real and could continue if COVID-safe practices remain in use.

The trend continued Monday with just under 500 new cases and 12 deaths reported in the New Mexico Department of Health’s daily COVID-19 update.

Dr. David Scrase, secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department, and Dr. Tracie Collins, Secretary-designate of the New Mexico Department of Health, gave an update on COVID-19 vaccinations and other data during a livestreamed press conference Monday afternoon.

Collins gave an update on the state’s vaccine plan, saying 92% of the 221,375 doses the state had received has been administered as of Sunday.

“In the last seven days, we’ve administered 58,000-plus doses, nearly doubling our pace in the prior two weeks, and we are the third-highest vaccine administration among all states in the country,” she said.

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More than a half-million people have registered for the vaccine on the state’s website, she said, with more than 800,000 New Mexicans eligible at this stage.

The state is receiving only 25,000 to 35,000 doses a week, however, she said.

“We ultimately need more vaccine and we are advocating for more vaccine, but it may take several months to vaccinate currently eligible populations based on our current supply,” she said.

Scrase said although new daily case reports are still higher than the state’s gating criteria, the data is encouraging.

After being in double-digits for several months, the state’s test positivity rate last week was 7.3% and the transmission rate — or how many people an infected person can pass the virus to — was 0.72, Scrase said.

“This is an early sign that maybe we’re now, along with case counts, getting the pandemic under better control,” he said.

“Case counts are still quite high. We’re not into that yellow and green range we want to be in the majority of counties, but if we do keep washing our hands, getting tested, staying 6 feet from others, wearing our masks, staying at home whenever possible, I think we’re going to continue to see progress,” he said.

In Monday’s daily update from the health department, 24 counties reported a total of 494 new cases of COVID-19. On Sunday, 28 counties and two correctional institutions reported 635 new cases. Those numbers included 14 cases Monday and 21 on Sunday in Chaves County.

The total number of cases statewide since March is now 169,696 including 8,059 in Chaves County.

No local deaths were reported among the 12 in New Mexico on Monday and 30 on Sunday.

Of those deaths, nine were from Bernalillo County; five from Sandoval; four each from Doña Ana, McKinley and San Juan counties; two each from Luna, Santa Fe and Taos counties; and one each from Cibola, Colfax, Curry, Grant, Lea, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, Union and Valencia counties.

The total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the state is now 3,157.

The number of hospitalizations as of Monday was not available due to a disruption in reporting, according to the daily update.

Chaves County’s two-week average of new daily cases per 100,000 people was 85.6 between Dec. 29 and Jan. 13, and its test positivity rate was 17.51%, placing it in the very high risk Red Zone in the state’s Red to Green COVID-19 risk assessment system. That data will be updated Wednesday.

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/.