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Local COVID-19 metrics improve, but county still in Red

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Six more counties crossed the threshold into the Yellow Level in New Mexico’s COVID-19 risk assessment system Wednesday, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. Although Chaves County was not one of them, the local metrics again saw improvement.

In Wednesday’s daily update, the state reported 755 new cases of COVID-19 including 47 in Chaves County. No local deaths related to the disease were among the 27 reported in the state.

Grant, Sierra, Socorro, Los Alamos, San Miguel and Colfax counties joined Union County in the high-risk Yellow Level, meaning a per capita rate of eight or fewer new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people or a test positivity rate of 5% or less. The data update covers the two-week period of Jan. 12 to 25.

The counties that moved into the Yellow Level have an immediate easing of restrictions under the public health order, such as allowing indoor dining and higher occupancy capacities in businesses, houses of worship and places of lodging. The mass gathering limit increases from five to 10 people.

No counties moved into the medium-risk Green Level this week, but Harding County remained at that level with no new cases per capita and 0% test positivity.

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Chaves County is one of the 25 counties remaining in the very high-risk Red Level but improved in both metrics of new daily cases and test positivity. A total of 28 counties saw improvement in per-capita new cases and 29 saw improvement in test positivity.

Chaves County had an average of 55.9 new daily cases per capita, down from 85.6 in the previous two-week period. Test positivity declined from 17.51% to 12.59%.

Chaves County ranks sixth statewide in average new daily cases per capita behind Luna (94.1), Lincoln (74.5), McKinley (71.8), Eddy (68.8) and San Juan (60.4) counties.

In test positivity, Chaves ranks seventh statewide behind Eddy (18.05%), Hidalgo (17.68%), McKinley (15.76%), Luna (15.71%), Lincoln (14.58%) and Lea (14.04%) counties.

Among the eight counties of the southeast region of the New Mexico Health Department, Curry, De Baca, Eddy, Lea, Quay and Roosevelt also improved their rates for daily cases and test positivity. Lincoln County increased in both.

In the daily update, 27 counties and two correctional facilities reported new cases. The state’s total since March is now 171,047. Chaves County’s total is 8,135.

Of the 27 deaths, five were from Doña Ana County and four from Bernalillo County. Lea and Grant counties each reported three. Curry, McKinley, Sandoval and San Juan counties each reported two. Cibola, Otero, Roosevelt and Valencia counties each reported one.

The total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in New Mexico is now 3,198 including 125 in Chaves County.

As of Wednesday, 586 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state.

The department of health has designated 98,042 cases in the state as recovered, including 4,912 in Chaves County.

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/.