New Mexico health officials today announced 112 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total thus far to 10,260.

McKinley, San Juan and Bernalillo counties led with the most new cases: 22, 17 and 15, respectively. Santa Fe County had four new cases. As of today, 147 people are hospitalized and the health department has designated 4,512 as recovered.*

The state also reported eight new deaths, including a fourth New Mexico Corrections Department inmate at the Otero County Prison Facility. New Mexico has now had 464 fatalities. A complete report of new cases, new deaths and statewide figures is available at the end of this story.

The new numbers arrived following a COVID-19 press update delivered earlier today by Health and Human Services Secretary David Scrase, which reviewed New Mexico's progress in mitigating the virus' spread, as well as updated medical information its Medical Advisory Team has been reviewing.

Gating criteria

One key criteria—the virus' rate of spread—has been recently reconfigured. Known as the R_effective, or effective reproduction number, this number helps measure how many COVID-19 cases are created by one person who has the disease. R0, known as "R naught," is the reproductive value of a contagious disease without mitigation (such as masks and social distancing).

Earlier in the week, Scrase explained to SFR that the modeling team had made a mathematical change to the way it is now calculating the effective rate of spread. Initially, the state used all the case numbers from the pandemic's inception in its equation. This proved effective as cases were growing, but insufficient as cases declined. The new equation looks, instead, at current cases only. With that adjustment, the state's current rate of transmission has fallen below the 1.05 gating criteria to .93 today.

These rates of spread vary from region to region, with areas such as the Northwest—which has had high numbers of cases and significant intervention—dropping quite low and others, such as the Metro and Southeast regions, higher. Santa Fe is in the Northeast region.

Reopening Progress

Overall, New Mexico is once again trending in the "green" in the COVID Exit Strategy website that tracks states' progress toward safely reopening.

Scrase said using a seven-day average helps the state see a better picture of the COVID-19 situation.

"We all rode this curve together," he said, noting that the peak was initially driven by cases in Bernalillo County, then by cases in the Northwest region and the second spike, in the Southwest region, resulted from the increased cases at the Otero County Prison facility.

"But in general, if you squint, you can see a general downward trend that we certainly hope will continue," he said.

Another means of monitoring the virus includes how many miles people are traveling, and that "continues to slowly creep up," Scrase said."It does worry us. In our work with Los Alamos Lab…has really shown us there's a very strong correlation between mobility and spread of infection."

New mobility data looks at mobility by regions. "The Southwest and the Metro region started low, dropped substantially low, they're coming back up, but they're actually the lowest in the state," Scrase said. "The green—the southeast—and the orange, Northwest, started higher in terms of miles traveled, more rural areas…dropped down, coming up in parallel. The one to keep an eye on is the Northeast, which all of a sudden is high, dropped quite low and is caching back up to its starting level as well."

Scrase also shared a breakdown that shows how significantly more at-risk certain populations are from contracting COVID-19.

"Your likelihood of having COVID [if you're in one of these groups] is dramatically higher than if you're not in one…So what's something we're looking at more closely and developing testing strategies to ensure we have those higher risk populations covered," he said.

Recovery and the future

Scrase said one of the number one questions he hears relates to "recovered" cases and the state's criteria therein. People are only certified as recovered if they meet the health department's criteria, he said, but "once people feel better they lose interest in returning DOH phone calls." The "biggest gap between total cases and recovered cases is not the people in the hospital; it's people who didn't complete the follow-up."

Then, he said, people want to know when they can return to work after having COVID-19. In that case, they should remain home and isolated for varying periods of time depending on whether or not they had symptoms.

Scrase also continued to drive home the importance of social isolation and mask-wearing, noting that a spike in cases in Hidalgo County earlier this week was the result of graduation parties attended across the Texas border "where people brought back graduation gifts and COVID."

The spike in cases in other states surrounding New Mexico serves as a warning of what can happen without diligence.

As for the future, a current major focus is how to reopen schools. Scrase said data coming from Europe—specifically Denmark and Island are "promising" in terms of showing children may not transmit COVID-19 as much as adults. "We're hoping and praying we get more data from other countries soon because I think that will help us. We don't want to just do a dramatic reopening of schools like other states have done with their stay-at-home orders; we know we would likely see a huge uptick of cases."

New cases

  • 15 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 3 new cases in Chaves County
  • 6 new cases in Cibola County
  • 4 new cases in Curry County
  • 10 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 3 new cases in Hidalgo County
  • 3 new cases in Lea County
  • 3 new cases in Luna County
  • 22 new cases in McKinley County
  • 2 new cases in Otero County
  • 7 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 6 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 17 new cases in San Juan County
  • 4 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 2 new cases in Valencia County
  • 5 new cases among individuals held by federal agencies at the Otero County Processing Center

New fatalities

  • A female in her 80s from Cibola County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Good Samaritan Society facility in Grants
  • A male in his 70s from Luna County who was hospitalized and had no underlying conditions
  • A female in her 40s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 60s from McKinley County
  • A male in his 60s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 80s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup
  • A male in his 60s in Otero County who was hospitalized, had underlying conditions and was a New Mexico Corrections Department inmate at the Otero County Prison Facility.
  • A female in her 60s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had no underlying conditions.

Congregate facilities

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at the following facilities:

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  • Advanced Health Care of Albuquerque in Albuquerque
  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Artesia
  • Avamere Rehab at Fiesta Park in Albuquerque
  • Bear Canyon Nursing and Rehab Center in Albuquerque
  • BeeHive Homes of Farmington in Farmington
  • BeeHive Homes of Gallup in Gallup
  • Belen Meadows in Belen
  • Bonney Family Home in Gallup
  • Brookdale Tramway Ridge in Albuquerque
  • Brookdale Santa Fe in Santa Fe
  • Camino Healthcare in Albuquerque
  • Camino Retirement Apartments in Albuquerque
  • Casa De Oro Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa Del Sol Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa Maria Health Care Center in Roswell
  • Cedar Ridge Inn in Farmington
  • Central Desert Behavioral Health in Albuquerque
  • Clayton Nursing and Rehab in Clayton
  • Dungarvin New Mexico, LLC in Gallup
  • Genesis Uptown Rehabilitation Center
  • Good Samaritan Society in Grants
  • Heartland Continuing Care Center in Portales
  • The Jim Wood Home in Hatch
  • Laguna Rainbow Elderly Care in Casa Blanca
  • La Vida Llena in Albuquerque
  • Legacy Santa Fe in Santa Fe
  • Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington
  • Little Sisters of the Poor in Gallup
  • McKinley Care Center in Gallup
  • Mimbres Memorial Nursing Home in Deming
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care of Santa Fe in Santa Fe
  • Namaste House Assisted Living in Farmington
  • Pacifica Senior Living Center Santa Fe in Santa Fe
  • Prime Care Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup
  • Retirement Ranches, Inc. in Clovis
  • Robin House Assisted Living Center in Albuquerque
  • San Juan Center in Farmington
  • South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque
  • Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites in Albuquerque
  • Sundance Care Home in Gallup
  • Tohatchi Area Opportunity Services (TAOS) in Tohatchi
  • The Village at Alameda in Albuquerque
  • The Village at Northrise in Las Cruces
  • Wellbrook Transitional Rehabilitation Center in Farmington

Statewide cases

According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included two cases that were determined to be out-of-state residents in Doña Ana County; two cases that have been identified as duplicates (one in Bernalillo County and one in Doña Ana County); and one case in Bernalillo County that was not lab confirmed. These have been corrected. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

Bernalillo County: 1,777
Catron County: 2
Chaves County: 64
Cibola County: 194
Colfax County: 8
Curry County: 101
Doña Ana County: 692
Eddy County: 49
Grant County: 16
Guadalupe County: 20
Harding County: 1
Hidalgo County: 26
Lea County: 58
Lincoln County: 7
Los Alamos County: 7
Luna County: 47
McKinley County: 3,009
Otero County: 32
Quay County: 5
Rio Arriba County: 73
Roosevelt County: 54
Sandoval County: 662
San Juan County: 2,165
San Miguel County: 18
Santa Fe County: 188
Sierra County: 5
Socorro County: 55
Taos County: 33
Torrance County: 34
Union County: 5
Valencia County: 95

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 2
  • Luna County Detention Center: 1
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 275
  • Otero County Processing Center: 146
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 24

Cases among people being held by the Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 1
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 1
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 307
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 1

*Per the health department, hospitalization figures include people who were tested elsewhere but are hospitalized in New Mexico, but don't include people who were tested here but are hospitalized out of state.