Today, New Mexico reported it has 403 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 40 new positive tests statewide. Of those cases, the Department of Health has designated 31 as having recovered.
The state also reported its seventh death: A female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who died Wednesday, April 1. She was hospitalized and had multiple underlying medical conditions. A county breakdown of new cases and statewide totals are available at the end of this story. Santa Fe has no new cases reported today.
As of today, 34 individuals are hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. Per the state, this number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized here, but does not include New Mexicans who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been transferred to a hospital out of state.
SFR has asked the governor's office more than once for county-specific information regarding hospitalizations, which are currently being reported as cumulative numbers for the state. While SFR has been told in various ways that the data was not available, the Department of Health apparently has told the Las Cruces Sun-News it wasn't being shared due to privacy concerns.
However, in a press call with US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, this afternoon in which he discussed myriad COVID-19 related issues—primarily focused on securing resources for healthcare providers—SFR asked if he would support county level information on hospitalizations being made available to the public and press.
Heinrich said he would "absolutely 100%." Moreover, Heinrich said he had spoken with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on the topic just this morning and "we are working with her to get a platform up," that will initially provide testing and results data by county (as the state has been doing already) but in addition, "we're trying to get all the different labs to share testing across a single platform so that we can make that transparent to the public."
Hospitalization "and other data in addition to testing data would be appropriate for that platform," he said. While it would need to be "anonymized," maximum data is needed "to understand where this virus is surging so we can apply our resources with the maximum effect."
The governor's press secretary Nora Meyers Sackett, in response to SFR's emailed query regarding the status of this platform's emergence and content, replied: "We're working on being able to have and share more data, it would be premature to speculate on the details."
Heinrich's talk with reporters also emphasized the impact COVID-19 will have on rural communities as well as urban ones, noting that "while surges of infections may hit some of our rural communities later, any increase in coronavirus cases will place acute strains on healthcare delivery in rural hospitals and clinics that are already struggling to keep their doors open. Rural healthcare providers had severely limited medical resources and personnel before this public health emergency." Earlier this week, Heinrich and other members of New Mexico's congressional delegation wrote to US Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar urging him to direct funding from the passed CARES Act toward small and rural hospitals.
Questions, of course, abound regarding COVID-19, and the governor took to Twitter today to try to answer some of them. She participated in a national Q & A with governors at noon, answering some questions about stay-at-home orders, testing and unemployment assistance, but steering clear of other inquiries.
For example, @Kristie82368464 asked the governor: "What do you believe is the biggest obstacle we will face if we continue at the rate that the pandemic is going?"
The governor replied: "The biggest obstacle we will face as a state is our health care system's capacity. That's why we HAVE to flatten the curve – that will mean our hospitals can properly treat the patients they are receiving. And that means we have to STAY HOME and reduce the spread!"
@CoachABQ wanted to know: "What is currently limiting the amount of covid-19 testing in New Mexico?"
The governor tweeted: "I would love to be able to test every New Mexican. We have expanded testing capacity, but the reality is we don't currently have those levels of resources. That is why it's so important that the federal government do its part to help us expand testing capacity."
From @clintg3000: "Will you be extending the closure of the malls past the initial April 10th date?"
Yes, she says: "New Mexico will be extending its instruction to stay at home unless absolutely essential, including the closure of businesses deemed non-essential. This is because the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is by staying home – so please, stay home."
Some questions she did not appear to answer:
"When are inmates in NM jails and prisons going to start being released? They are completely defenseless and are running out of time.."
"Are we going to see state-level rental assistance for folks that fall through the cracks of or will be waiting months to see financial help? Even Arizona pulled that off by the 1st. We need to stop the fear for families and widening economic damage."
You can read the full Q&A on Twitter at #AskGovMLG
New COVID-19 cases reported April 2
- 15 new cases in Bernalillo County
- 3 new cases in Chaves County
- 1 new case in Cibola County
- 1 new case in Curry County
- 1 new case in Doña Ana County
- 4 new cases in McKinley County
- 1 new case in Rio Arriba County
- 8 new cases in Sandoval County
- 4 new cases in San Juan County
- 1 new case in Socorro County
- 1 new case in Taos County
Statewide totals of COVID-19 cases
Bernalillo County: 163
Catron County: 1