Calling New Mexico's hospital capacity levels a "crisis situation," Human Services Secretary David Scrase said earlier today that Albuquerque hospitals are now preparing for surges as New Mexico's case numbers continue to grow.

In Albuquerque, he said, all hospitals are moving into Phase 2 and/or 3 surge plans, with some facilities beginning to limit elective surgeries that require inpatient stays. "Having Albuquerque being completely full is a significant handicap for the state," he said. In a follow-up email in response to questions from SFR, Scrase provided the following explanations of surge levels:

"Surge Level 1 is minor changes in purposes of rooms or moving patients to make more rooms.  So, for example, several ABQ hospitals have moved adult patients into pediatric rooms.

Surge Level 2 is further expansion beyond normal licensed beds.  Again, several ABQ hospitals are converting telemetry or ED beds into ICU beds now.

Surge Level 3 is wholesale realignment of major sections of hospitals into ICU beds.  So closing down an OR suite to create 10 ICU beds, as everyone had to do in the first wave, would be an example."


All of these levels fall under what is described as contingency care. Crisis levels of care, Scrase says, "start when we can no longer expand, don't have sufficient resources, and have to choose which of multiple patients will get scarce resources," as outlined in the state's medical surge plan for COVID-19.

Continued warnings about hospital capacity come as New Mexico health officials today reported 669 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 39,377. Today's new cases follow yesterday's record-setting 827 cases.

Bernalillo County had 185 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 97 and Sandoval County with 53. Santa Fe County had 17, far lower than the record-breaking 64 cases it had on Wednesday.

Scrase also shared documentation of which symptoms 22,666 people who tested positive reported having. As noted below, the test positivity rate for people with symptoms is 3.35 times higher than those who are asymptomatic.

The Public Education Department reported 25 new positive cases in the last 24 hours from public schools in 14 counties—18 staff and seven students.

The state also announced three additional deaths from Bernalillo, Doña Ana and Eddy counties; there have now been 953 fatalities.

As of today, 213 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

And the state environment department reported 71 businesses with two or more rapid responses within the last 14 days, including five in Santa Fe County: Guy's Painting Co., Maria's New Mexican Kitchen, Paseo del Sol Apartments, Smith's and Whole Foods.

Scrase's webinar today also provided updates on the state's testing strategy, with additional information provided by TriCore Reference Laboratories Medical Infectious Diseases Medical Director Karissa Culbreath. Of note, TriCore has begun to perform pool testing at a small level and hopes to continue doing so to maximize testing resources. With pool testing, samples are tested together.

When the pool tests negative, then all of the results are reported as negative. If the pool tests positive, then each sample is retested to find out which one was positive. "Specimen pooling is nothing that's new to the laboratory diagnostic space," Culbreath said, but it did require time to automate the process.

Moreover, pooling works more effectively in areas with low test positivity rates, so TriCore will be primarily focusing on those.

In addition, TriCore has opened a satellite laboratory on the New Mexico State University campus and is expanding testing to include diagnostics for other respiratory diseases.

The state continues to fail meeting five of its eight gating criteria for managing COVID-19, with contact-tracing falling behind as cases grow. In fact, today's figures show it is taking contact tracers 65 hours to contact people who may have been exposed to a positive case.

Officials are keeping an eye on mobility, which has historically corresponded to rising cases.

"Mobility—relentlessly inching up here," Scrase said. "We'd love to see a downturn in these curves to try to separate people a little bit more, get less people sharing air space." Noting that he had taken "the liberty inserting a picture of a dumpster fire" into one of his final slides, Scrase said he hoped viewers didn't "feel that it's in bad taste, but we are in a serious serious situation. Humans have never come into more contact with human, which is sparking this uptick in cases."

New cases

  • 185 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 31 new cases in Chaves County
  • 12 new cases in Cibola County
  • 1 new case in Colfax County
  • 30 new cases in Curry County
  • 97 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 46 new cases in Eddy County
  • 1 new case in Grant County
  • 1 new case in Guadalupe County
  • 36 new cases in Lea County
  • 21 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 24 new cases in Luna County
  • 7 new cases in McKinley County
  • 7 new cases in Otero County
  • 1 new case in Quay County
  • 4 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 16 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 53 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 21 new cases in San Juan County
  • 1 new case in San Miguel County
  • 17 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 9 new cases in Sierra County
  • 7 new cases in Socorro County
  • 1 new case in Taos County
  • 1 new case in Torrance County
  • 31 new cases in Valencia County
  • 2 new cases among individuals held by federal agencies at the Otero County Prison Facility
  • 3 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County
  • 2 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility
  • 1 new case among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County

New fatalities

  • A male in his 70s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 30s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from Eddy County who was hospitalized and had 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:

  • Adobe Assisted Living in Las Cruces
  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
  • Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation
  • Atria Vista Del Rio in Albuquerque
  • Avamere at Fiesta Park 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 Valencia Albuquerque
  • 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
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation in Hobbs
  • El Castillo in Santa Fe
  • Fairwinds Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Good Life Senior Living in Artesia
  • Good Life Senior Living in Carlsbad
  • Good Samaritan Manzano Del Sol Independent Senior Living in Albuquerque
  • Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • Life Care Center in Farmington
  • 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 Montebello on Academy in Albuquerque
  • The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho
  • New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
  • North Ridge Care Center in Albuquerque
  • Odelia Healthcare (Camino Healthcare) in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ramah Adult Care in Ramah
  • The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • Retreat Healthcare in Rio Rancho
  • The Rio Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • 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
  • Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation in Los Alamos
  • South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque
  • St. Anthony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Sunset Villa Care Center in Roswell
  • Tercer Cielo in Albuquerque
  • Village at Northrise in Las Cruces
  • Village Retirement Community in Roswell
  • Vista Hermosa in Santa Fe
  • Welbrook Senior Living Las Cruces
  • Westwind House Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Wheatfields Senior Living Community in Clovis

Statewide cases

According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included six cases that have been identified as duplicates (three in Bernalillo County, one in Chaves County, one in Quay County and one in Socorro County) and one case in Valencia County that was not lab confirmed—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: 9,685
  • Catron County: 9
  • Chaves County: 1,846
  • Cibola County: 532
  • Colfax County: 42
  • Curry County: 1,397
  • De Baca County: 1
  • Doña Ana County: 5,170
  • Eddy County: 1,302
  • Grant County: 172
  • Guadalupe County: 39
  • Harding County: 1
  • Hidalgo County: 112
  • Lea County: 1,928
  • Lincoln County: 336
  • Los Alamos County: 40
  • Luna County: 685
  • McKinley County: 4,509
  • Mora County: 14
  • Otero County: 418
  • Quay County: 95
  • Rio Arriba County: 464
  • Roosevelt County: 418
  • Sandoval County: 1,825
  • San Juan County: 3,674
  • San Miguel County: 152
  • Santa Fe County: 1,491
  • Sierra County: 89
  • Socorro County: 197
  • Taos County: 182
  • Torrance County: 94
  • Union County: 39
  • Valencia County: 833

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 340
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 342
  • 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: 44
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 106
  • 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: 46
  • 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.