Calling the spread of COVID-19 across New Mexico uncontrolled and the "most serious emergency" the state has ever faced, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham today detailed new restrictions effective tomorrow and warned more will come if numbers don't begin to come down.
"The virus is now winning," the governor said. "We are in uncharted waters."
New Mexico health officials today reported 672 new COVID-19 cases—another record high for new daily cases— bringing the statewide total so far to 34,958.
Bernalillo County had 303 new cases, followed most closely by Doña Ana County with 89 and Chaves County with 37. Santa Fe County had 18 new cases today. More details on today's cases are available at the end of this story.
The state also announced one additional death, a female in her 70s from Luna County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. There have now been 922 fatalities.
As of today, 150 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 21 of them on ventilators.* Hospitalizations have risen 74% so far this month. Indeed, both the governor and Human Services Secretary David Scrase said hospital beds are beginning to fill up across the state, including at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe.
The governor will extend and amend the public health order expiring tomorrow with the following changes and indicated the state intends to increase enforcement of the public health order:
• A 10 pm closing time nightly for any food or drink establishment that serves alcohol.
• Reduction of maximum occupancy restrictions for places of lodging to 60% for those that have completed the N.M. Safe Certified training program and to 25% for those that have not—a reduction of maximum occupancy from 75% and 50%, respectively.
• People arriving from "higher-risk states" —or those with a test positivity rate exceeding 5% and a test positivity rate higher than 80 per 100,000 residents—can no longer be exempt from quarantine by testing negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arrival. The governor will amend her executive order so that all individuals arriving from those states—a list of which is updated each Wednesday at cv.nmhealth.org/travel-
• Mass gatherings have been reduced from 10 to five people.
The governor urged residents to pair the new rules with a renewed vigilance toward hand-washing, mask-wearing and social-distancing. Speaking by Zoom from the governor's residence in Santa Fe, the governor said she was in her final day of self-isolation following the positive COVID-19 status of an employee at the residence. The governor and her fiancé have both tested negative twice, she said, but she intends to stay put.
"Given the state of emergency that I think we are in, I'm going to continue to self isolate," Lujan Grisham said. "I'm not going to be going out. What we're about to talk about today warrants those kinds of decisions and personal decisions by New Mexicans."
Human Services Secretary Scrase detailed the epidemiological curve the state has incurred of late, as cases continue to rise exponentially across all regions, indicated in the graph below. "We're like a car on ice," he said. "We can slam on the brakes today…but it's going to take two weeks for the car to stop."
The slide "keeping me awake," Scrase said, shows rising cases across all age groups, particularly in the 65 and older group, since that is the demographic most likely to be hospitalized.
Needless to say, with the rising case counts, the state is failing to meet three of its key gating criteria used to assess its efficacy in battling the pandemic. While the seven-day average for the state's test positivity rate was 5.18% on Oct. 13, the governor said today it is 8.1%, the highest it's been, she said.
"New Mexico had been leading the Southwest in low positivity rates, controllable transmission of COVID-19, and now we're in these columns, where we're leading the country…for uncontrollable spread," she said.
Scrase also reviewed some of the unknowns about the longer-term impacts of COVID-19, saying he's "often accused of trying to scare people. In my mind, I'm just showing you the data, I'm not wanting people to be afraid; I'm wanting everyone to be motivated to take action to double down, to be safe."
Rapid responses to businesses also continue to increase: there were 611 last week, up from 419 the week before, and a 60% increase since the end of September. Restaurants have had a 120% increase week-over-week for rapid responses; retail and wholesale have had a 98% increase week-over-week.
As for even stricter measures, such as re-instituting a ban on indoor dining, they could be coming.
"Given the activity and the mobility and the lack of public health efforts like mask wearing, the very real fear is that if we can't marry these new restrictions with the highest level of personal commitment, they will not be enough," Lujan Grisham said. "And we will know in short order. If they are not enough, as a state we have to be prepared to make tough decisions; I'm prepared to make another really tough decision. I don't want to make that decision. I want us to show that collectively we can use these tools and attack the virus right back."
Still, she noted, New Mexico "is past the point of just prevention…The wildfire is raging. Even with these numbers, I know we're going to have more people die and more hospitalizations."
- 303 new cases in Bernalillo County
- 37 new cases in Chaves County
- 6 new cases in Cibola County
- 17 new cases in Curry County
- 89 new cases in Doña Ana County
- 26 new cases in Eddy County
- 5 new cases in Grant County
- 3 new cases in Hidalgo County
- 28 new cases in Lea County
- 3 new cases in Lincoln County
- 14 new cases in Luna County
- 14 new cases in McKinley County
- 2 new cases in Mora County
- 2 new cases in Otero County
- 6 new cases in Quay County
- 1 new cases in Rio Arriba County
- 6 new cases in Roosevelt County
- 29 new cases in Sandoval County
- 28 new cases in San Juan County
- 2 new cases in San Miguel County
- 18 new cases in Santa Fe County
- 2 new cases in Taos County
- 20 new cases in Valencia County
- 6 new cases among individuals being held by federal agencies at the Otero County Prison Facility
- 2 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County
- 3 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County
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
- Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation
- Atria Vista Del Rio in Albuquerque
- Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
- BeeHive Homes Volcano Cliffs in Albuquerque
- Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
- Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation
- Brookdale Santa Fe
- Brookdale Valencia Albuquerque
- Casa Arena Blanca Nursing Center in Alamogordo
- Casa del Sol Center in Las Cruces
- 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 Artesia
- Good Life Senior Living in Carlsbad
- Good Life Senior Living in Lovington
- Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
- 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
- Kingston Residence of Santa Fe
- Mission Arch Center in Roswell
- MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care in Rio Rancho
- The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho
- New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
- Ramah Adult Care in Ramah
- Retirement Ranches in Clovis
- Retreat Healthcare in Rio Rancho
- Rio Rancho Center
- Sandia Ridge Center in Albuquerque
- Sandia Senior Suites in Albuquerque
- San Juan Center in Albuquerque
- Silver City Care Center in Silver City
- South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque
- Tercer Cielo in Albuquerque
- Village at Northrise in Las Cruces
- Village Retirement Community in Roswell
- Welbrook Senior Living Las Cruces
According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included four cases that have been identified as duplicates (one in Doña Ana County, one in Eddy County, one in Otero County and one in Sandoval County); one case in Otero County that has since been identified as an inmate being held by federal agencies at the Otero County Prison Facility—these now have been corrected. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.
- Bernalillo County: 8,428
- Catron County: 9
- Chaves County: 1,664
- Cibola County: 479
- Colfax County: 41
- Curry County: 1,155
- De Baca County: 1
- Doña Ana County: 4,355
- Eddy County: 1,089
- Grant County: 156
- Guadalupe County: 37
- Harding County: 1
- Hidalgo County: 111
- Lea County: 1,713
- Lincoln County: 267
- Los Alamos County: 37
- Luna County: 528
- McKinley County: 4,449
- Mora County: 12
- Otero County: 319
- Quay County: 86
- Rio Arriba County: 428
- Roosevelt County: 365
- Sandoval County: 1,622
- San Juan County: 3,536
- San Miguel County: 128
- Santa Fe County: 1,274
- Sierra County: 67
- Socorro County: 148
- Taos County: 164
- Torrance County: 91
- Union County: 37
- Valencia County: 702
Cases among people being held by federal agencies
- Cibola County Correctional Center: 329
- Otero County Prison Facility: 302
- Otero County Processing Center: 181
- 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: 40
- Lea County Correctional Facility: 75
- 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: 5
- 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.