NM Governor: “We Have Got to Be on High Alert”

Health officials report 387 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths

Speaking this afternoon from the governor's residence in Santa Fe where she is currently quarantined, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reported she and her fiancé Manny Cordova were re-tested yesterday and remain free of COVID-19, as do other staff members. The custodial worker who tested positive last week is doing well, she said, and only has moderate symptoms.

That's the end of the good news.

Although today's new case count of 387 was lower than yesterday's, New Mexico remains at "extreme risk of uncontrollable spread," Lujan Grisham said. "And when you have uncontrollable spread, where we can't manage the outbreaks, you become clearly a potential epicenter of the country…we have got to be on high alert."

Today's 387 cases bring the statewide total so far to 31,756. Bernalillo County continues to lead with the most new cases: 101 today, followed by 65 new cases in Curry County and 57 in Doña Ana County. Santa Fe County had 20 new cases today.

The state also announced three additional deaths from Doña Ana, Eddy and Luna counties; there have now been 899 fatalities.

As of today, 119 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 18 on ventilators.* Hospitalizations have increased by 38% since Oct. 1. Details on today's COVID-19 cases and fatalities are available at the end of this story.

The current public health order remains in effect until Oct. 16. This still leaves the state time to address the current spike and avoid rolling back any activities currently allowed. The governor said it was "premature" to discuss which activities or businesses might be curtailed should the state not stem the current rise of cases. "Our goal is to not have to do any of that," she said. "That whiplash for our economy is unfathomably bad."

Still, New Mexico's spike has been notable—the third highest in the US over the last two weeks, Health and Human Services Secretary David Scrase said. He said the ranking was a "little bit unfair" given how relatively low the state's cases had been but, nonetheless, "this is a list we don't want to be near the top of, but unfortunately we are."

Urban areas such as Bernalillo and Doña Ana County have been driving the surge, as have been rising cases in the southeast. Scrase pointed, as well, to a "huge amount of disease activity on Texas border" and advised New Mexicans living on the state border to "exercise as much caution as possible…If you live along one of these borders, or you're in a red county already or seeing across the border cases skyrocket, that should affect decisions about going out today or having someone get your groceries or ordering those groceries online," he said.

As one would expect given the rising cases, the state's effective rate of transmission and daily case count over a seven-day average also have surpassed the state's gating criteria. Given the uptick, Scrase said he anticipated contact tracers may also encounter challenges keeping up with the increased number of people with whom they need to communicate.

Contact-tracers also are providing insight as to what types of activities people participated in prior to testing positive. Large gatherings, along with going to restaurants and bars, were some of the most frequent ones cited. Scrase also emphasized the importance of people self-isolating for 14 days if they have been tested.

The state continues to exceed its goals for testing 5,000 people per day on a seven-day rolling average, although its test positivity rate spiked yesterday as well to 9.7% providing "a clear indication the virus is spreading exponentially and rapidly."

While not specifically referring to Donald Trump, Scrase also provided an overview of various medications either recommended for use or not for treating COVID-19, all of which have been in the news lately following Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis.

As for Halloween, needless to say trick-or-treating, costume parties and haunted houses are off the table. The state earlier this week launched a website with family-friendly and safe alternative ideas.

Bottom line?

"I know this is feeling week after week like we're preaching and that doesn't feel good," Lujan Grisham said. "The reality is still the same. This is a deadly virus. We are in a global pandemic."

New cases

  • 101 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 25 new cases in Chaves County
  • 6 new cases in Cibola County
  • 65 new cases in Curry County
  • 57 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 14 new cases in Eddy County
  • 2 new cases in Grant County
  • 2 new cases in Guadalupe County
  • 1 new case in Hidalgo County
  • 10 new cases in Lea County
  • 7 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 6 new cases in Luna County
  • 9 new cases in McKinley County
  • 3 new cases in Otero County
  • 4 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 5 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 14 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 10 new cases in San Juan County
  • 4 new cases in San Miguel County
  • 20 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 4 new cases in Sierra County
  • 2 new cases in Socorro County
  • 2 new cases in Taos County
  • 2 new cases in Union County
  • 7 new cases in Valencia County
  • 1 new case among individuals being held by federal agencies at the Otero County Prison Facility
  • 1 new case among individuals being held by federal agencies at the Otero County Processing Center
  • 3 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County

New fatalities

  • A female in her 50s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 90s from Eddy County who was a resident of the Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • A female in her 70s from Luna County who was hospitalized

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:

  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
  • Atria Vista Del Rio in Albuquerque
  • Avamere at Rio Rancho
  • Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation
  • Brookdale Santa Fe
  • 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
  • LifeSpire Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Lotus Care Homes in Albuquerque
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care in Rio Rancho
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ramah Adult Care in Ramah
  • Raton Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Raton
  • The Rehab Center of Albuquerque in Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • Sandia Ridge Center in Albuquerque
  • Sandia Senior Suites in Albuquerque
  • San Juan Center in Albuquerque
  • Silver City Care Center in Silver City
  • Sunset Villa Nursing Home in Roswell
  • Tercer Cielo in Albuquerque
  • Village at Northrise in Las Cruces
  • Village Retirement Community in Roswell
  • The Watermark at Cherry Hills in Albuquerque
  • Welbrook Senior Living Las Cruces

Statewide cases

According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included one case in Bernalillo County that has been identified as a duplicate and two cases that have been identified as out-of-state residents (one in Doña Ana County and one in Sandoval County)—these have now been corrected. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

  • Bernalillo County: 7,286
  • Catron County: 9
  • Chaves County: 1,428
  • Cibola County: 451
  • Colfax County: 40
  • Curry County: 1,015
  • De Baca County: 1
  • Doña Ana County: 3,839
  • Eddy County: 975
  • Grant County: 136
  • Guadalupe County: 36
  • Harding County: 1
  • Hidalgo County: 104
  • Lea County: 1,584
  • Lincoln County: 244
  • Los Alamos County: 36
  • Luna County: 464
  • McKinley County: 4,384
  • Mora County: 7
  • Otero County: 288
  • Quay County: 77
  • Rio Arriba County: 410
  • Roosevelt County: 327
  • Sandoval County: 1,455
  • San Juan County: 3,431
  • San Miguel County: 111
  • Santa Fe County: 1,144
  • Sierra County: 54
  • Socorro County: 126
  • Taos County: 151
  • Torrance County: 84
  • Union County: 34
  • Valencia County: 631

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 324
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 288
  • Otero County Processing Center: 166
  • 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: 35
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 52
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 5
  • 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.

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