Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state officials urged New Mexicans today to abide by the current health orders as COVID-19 case counts and infection rates continue to rise across all parts of the state.
Today, the state surpassed its gating criteria for 168 or fewer new daily cases over a rolling seven-day average and hit 171; the statewide effective rate of transmission, which health officials want to hold at 1.05 or less, was at 1.27 as of Sept. 30.
Human Services Secretary David Scrase said officials are seeing "a much higher proportion of counties reporting COVID cases," with acute activity in Bernalillo County, in the southeastern corner of the state and "a large amount of activity along the eastern border between New Mexico and Texas."
Describing himself as "really concerned," Scrase also said he believes the current health orders are "sufficient to control this outbreak, but in order for those directives to work, we have to follow them."
New Mexico health officials today reported 227 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 29,661. Bernalillo County led with 53 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 47 and Chaves County with 40. Santa Fe County had five new cases.
The state also announced five additional deaths from Bernalillo, Doña Ana, Eddy and Rio Arriba counties, as well as the seventh death from Santa Fe County; there have now been 882 fatalities.
As of today, 86 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 11 of them on ventilators.* Details on today's cases and fatalities are available at the end of this story.
Lujan Grisham also pointed to the most recent rapid response reports from the state environment department, which tracks reported cases at businesses and other public locations. These also have been rising, with 99 rapid responses just today, she said. "That means New Mexicans are going to more locations and more businesses' that means we're taking the virus with us." The governor said she planned to ask the Medical Advisory Team to consider whether asking people to limit the number of public locations they visit each day in some manner would be another way to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
"We have to do better and I'd like to think about that strategy," she said. "The rapid responses are a reflection of uncontrolled community spread." Lea, Eddy and Curry counties have had the largest surges in rapid responses—a 90% increase in the case of Lea County—and general services have had a 175% increase. That category includes businesses such as auto and appliance repair; laundry services; and hair and nail salons.
New Mexico's public schools have thus far had 205 cases since Aug. 17. Most of those have been among students, teachers or staff who are working remotely, according to Education Secretary Ryan Stewart. Of all the cases, 55 have been people in hybrid mode with some presence in school facilities.
In order for schools to open in hybrid mode, they must reside in counties where the average daily cases are under 8 per 100,000 and the test positivity rate is under 5%. Five counties have dipped from green (meeting the criteria) to red (not), Stewart said. However, schools are not required to close when that happens, as officials think it's "very important that communities are able to have a stable and ongoing" education system, he said. However, he noted, it becomes that much more important in those counties "and frankly in all counties that we continue to practice mask wearing" and other mitigation efforts.
The Public Education Department today reported 10 new cases at schools in Bernalillo, Chaves, Curry, Doña Ana, Eddy and Hidalgo counties in the last 24 hours. Officials have not been reporting which schools have had outbreaks in their news releases, although Stewart said he would review the information protocol in response to SFR's question about the absence of that information.
Officials reiterated that wearing masks, social distancing, while curtailing travel and large gatherings (which are not permitted under the current health order) will need to occur to avoid cases continuing to climb.
"We have sacrificed so much in this state," Lujan Grisham said. "We've lost New Mexicans, we have folks with chronic illnesses. We have folks who couldn't go back to work, we've lost businesses, family businesses…we can't allow the sacrifices we've made for each other to be in vain. We can not allow another wave. As we're seeing around the country and around the world, surges and second and third waves are occurring and many countries are going into another round of lockdown. We don't have to do that and we don't have to do that in the United States if we all pull together…We can crush it again."
- 53 new cases in Bernalillo County
- 40 new cases in Chaves County
- 5 new cases in Cibola County
- 3 new cases in Curry County
- 47 new cases in Doña Ana County
- 14 new cases in Eddy County
- 4 new cases in Grant County
- 16 new cases in Lea County
- 3 new cases in Lincoln County
- 1 new case in Luna County
- 4 new cases in McKinley County
- 1 new case in Otero County
- 1 new case in Rio Arriba County
- 4 new cases in Roosevelt County
- 6 new cases in Sandoval County
- 8 new cases in San Juan County
- 1 new case in San Miguel County
- 5 new cases in Santa Fe County
- 2 new cases in Socorro County
- 2 new cases in Taos County
- 1 new case in Torrance County
- 4 new cases in Valencia County
- 2 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility
- A female in her 30s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
- A male in his 70s from Doña Ana County who had underlying conditions
- A female in her 70s from Eddy County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
- A male in his 20s from Rio Arriba County who had underlying conditions
- A male in his 60s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
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:
- Aristocrat Assisted Living in Las Cruces
- Atria Vista Del Rio in Albuquerque
- Avamere at Rio Rancho
- Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
- Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
- Brookdale Santa Fe
- Camino Healthcare in Albuquerque
- Casa Arena Blanca Nursing Center in Alamogordo
- Casa de Oro Center in Las Cruces
- Casa Maria Health Care Center in Roswell
- Clovis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
- Colfax Long Term Care Center in Springer
- Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation in Hobbs
- Good Life Senior Living in Lovington
- Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
- Heartfelt Manor in Roswell
- Laguna Rainbow Care in Casa Blanca
- Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
- Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
- Lotus Care Homes in Albuquerque
- Lovington Healthcare in Lovington
- Mission Arch Center in Roswell
- Princeton Place in Albuquerque
- Ramah Adult Care in Ramah
- Raton Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Raton
- The Rehab Center of Albuquerque in Albuquerque
- Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup
- Retirement Ranches in Clovis
- San Juan Center in Albuquerque
- Silver City Care Center in Silver City
- Sunny Day Assisted Living in Gallup
- Sunset Villa Nursing Home in Roswell
- Tercer Cielo in Albuquerque
- Village Retirement Community in Roswell
- The Watermark at Cherry Hills in Albuquerque
- Welbrook Senior Living Las Cruces
According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included one case in San Juan County that has been identified as an out-of-state resident—this has now been corrected. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.
- Bernalillo County: 6,660
- Catron County: 9
- Chaves County: 1,261
- Cibola County: 431
- Colfax County: 36
- Curry County: 854
- De Baca County: 1
- Doña Ana County: 3,476
- Eddy County: 875
- Grant County: 128
- Guadalupe County: 34
- Harding County: 1
- Hidalgo County: 101
- Lea County: 1,464
- Lincoln County: 219
- Los Alamos County: 33
- Luna County: 425
- McKinley County: 4,346
- Mora County: 7
- Otero County: 271
- Quay County: 75
- Rio Arriba County: 401
- Roosevelt County: 289
- Sandoval County: 1,380
- San Juan County: 3,366
- San Miguel County: 101
- Santa Fe County: 1,032
- Sierra County: 47
- Socorro County: 109
- Taos County: 148
- Torrance County: 77
- Union County: 31
- Valencia County: 592
Cases among people being held by federal agencies
- Cibola County Correctional Center: 324
- Otero County Prison Facility: 285
- Otero County Processing Center: 163
- Torrance County Detention Facility: 44
Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections
- Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 34
- Lea County Correctional Facility: 51
- Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 1
- Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 1
- Otero County Prison Facility: 472
- Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 1
- Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 1
- Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 4
*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.