New Mexico COVID-19 Cases in Schools, Statewide dropping

But hold onto your masks

COVID-19 cases appear to be dropping in New Mexico, Acting Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during today’s weekly pandemic update.

“You can see some good news here,” he said, referencing the slide below. “Everyone at DOH is now willing to concede we’re on the downslope of this pandemic. We leveled off about two weeks ago and now we’re final heading in the downward trend.”

Slide "New Mexico Covid Case by Date of Infection, Sept. 13, 2021." NMDOH 9/15/21

Cases among staff and students at schools also has taken a downward turn, according to Education Secretary-Designate Kurt Steinhaus, who shared data showing a 37% drop in cases last week compared with the week prior. Steinhaus acknowledged that drop could be a “blip” and said officials will continue to monitor the data and if it turns out to be a trend, “we’ll be pleased about it.” The state education department also has been tracking test positivity rates for staff, which have dropped to 0.74.

PED requires surveillance testing for all schools and has launched a new surveillance testing initiative, funded by a $63 million federal CDC grant to the health department.

The ultimate goal, Steinhaus says, is to keep schools open—none are currently in remote mode, he noted. “In-person learning is prioritized,” he said. “Kids do better when they’re able to come to school, so we’re working really hard to keep schools open and keep kids safe.”

Slide "It is clear, in-person learning is important." NMDOH 9/15/21

To that end, the education department has a stand-alone website for school COVID-19 testing, where schools can register for testing options. The state also is requiring districts and charter schools to prepare plans for enhanced COVID-safety plans by Oct. 1 in lieu of requiring schools to switch to remote learning after four rapid responses within a 14-day period.

Hospitalizations also remain on a downward trend, according to the latest modeling, but Scrase noted “we are still scrambling,” with some facilities “skirting” the line between contingency and crisis-care standards. In addition, the state has seen an increase in the last week of hospitalizations for 5-17-year-olds (Ed note: The slide below has a typo in its headline regarding the age group, which was repeated in an earlier version of this story).

Slide "In the last week, there was an increase in 5-7-year-old hospitalizations in New Mexico." NMDOH 9/15/21

And most of the state remains continues to have high levels of transmission. As such, Scrase renewed the current public health order requiring masks in indoor settings today.

“Get back to me when we’re at least down in the range of orange,” he said, regarding the possibility of removing that requirement. “That’s probably the time we’ll revisit what we want to do there.”

He also noted while “a lot of people will feel really strongly they shouldn’t have to wear masks,” he compared it to being asked by a surgical team about to perform an operation whether or not he would want them to wear masks. “I’m going to go with a masked up team to reduce my chance of perioperative infection,” he said.

Slide "Community transmission is high in NM." NMDOH 9/15/21

Daily fatalities are likely to remain high for at least the next few weeks or so, as they follow the high rates of hospitalizations. Approximately 19% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 during the pandemic have died, according to the most recent hospitalization report.

New Mexico health officials today reported 690 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 243,085. DOH has designated 375 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 220 new cases, followed by Lea County with 80 and Doña Ana County with 70 Santa Fe County had 13 new cases. The Delta variant remains responsible for most of the state’s infections.

Slide "Delta variant continues to be majority of COVID-19 infections." NMDOH 9/15/21

The state also announced 18 additional deaths, 16 of them recent, including two from Santa Fe County. There have now been 160 fatalities in Santa Fe County and 4,649 statewide. As of today, 375 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

Currently, 79% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 69.2% are fully vaccinated. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 62.5% people have had at least one dose and 51.6% are fully inoculated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 90.1% have had at least one dose and 79.7% are fully vaccinated. Over the last four-week period, unvaccinated people accounted for 80.3% of new cases, 88.4% of new hospitalizations and 97.6% of new deaths.

Slide: "Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by vaccination status over prior 4-week period." NMDOH 9/15/21

According to DOH Deputy Secretary Dr. Laura Parajón, the state continues to see high vaccination rates within counties that rate high on the federal social vulnerability index, as indicated below. DOH also has begun publishing vaccine equity reports and has a new consolidated vaccination website with data, reports and resources.

Slide, "Population vaccinated and SVI by county," NMDOH 9/15/21

More vaccination data can be found in DOH’s weekly vaccination report.

“There is some data today that’s looking pretty good,” Steinhaus said, “but let’s not relax. Let’s not let up. Let’s stay focused on keeping our schools safe, so we can keep our schools open.”

New cases

  • 220 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 27 new cases in Chaves County
  • 7 new cases in Cibola County
  • 14 new cases in Colfax County
  • 22 new cases in Curry County
  • 70 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 25 new cases in Eddy County
  • 10 new cases in Grant County
  • 1 new case in Guadalupe County
  • 2 new cases in Hidalgo County
  • 80 new cases in Lea County
  • 9 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 2 new cases in Los Alamos County
  • 4 new cases in Luna County
  • 9 new cases in McKinley County
  • 21 new cases in Otero County
  • 4 new cases in Quay County
  • 11 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 3 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 34 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 50 new cases in San Juan County
  • 3 new cases in San Miguel County
  • 13 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 4 new cases in Sierra County
  • 5 new cases in Socorro County
  • 9 new cases in Taos County
  • 8 new cases in Torrance County
  • 22 new cases in Valencia County
  • 1 new case among individuals held by federal agencies at the Otero County Processing Center

New fatalities

  • A female in her 50s from Bernalillo County
  • A male in his 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 80s from Chaves County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 80s from Cibola County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 50s from Curry County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 70s from Curry County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 80s from Curry County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 70s from Hidalgo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 60s from Lea County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 50s from McKinley County who was hospitalized
  • A female in her 20s from Mora County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 30s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 50s from Sierra County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 70s from Taos County who was hospitalized

Newly reported fatalities from more than 30 days ago

  • A male in his 70s from Curry County
  • A female in her 70s from Lea County who was hospitalized

According to DOH, COVID-related deaths are reported when a death certificate has been issued and some death certificates are delayed due to insufficient information.

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:

  • Advanced Health Care in Albuquerque
  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
  • All Care Assisted Living in Clovis
  • Autumn Blessings Assisted Living in Logan
  • Avamere in Roswell
  • Avista Senior Living (Brookdale Senior Living) in Albuquerque
  • Aztec Healthcare in Aztec
  • BeeHive Homes Bosque Farms
  • BeeHive Homes Clovis
  • BeeHive Homes Roswell
  • BeeHive Homes San Pedro in Albuquerque
  • BeeHive Homes Santa Fe
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation in Bloomfield
  • Brookdale Valencia in Albuquerque
  • Calibre Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa Arena Blanca Nursing Center in Alamogordo
  • Casa de Oro in Las Cruces
  • Casa del Sol Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa Maria Health Care Center in Roswell
  • Cedar Ridge Inn in Farmington
  • Clayton Nursing and Rehabilitation in Clayton
  • Clovis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Colfax Long-Term Care Center in Springer
  • Desert Peaks Assisting Living and Memory Care in Las Cruces
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Fort Bayard Medical Center in Santa Clara
  • Genesis Healthcare Uptown in Albuquerque
  • Genesis McKinley Care Center in Gallup
  • Good Life Senior Living in Hobbs
  • Good Life Senior Living in Lovington
  • Good Samaritan Society – Betty Dare in Alamogordo
  • Good Samaritan Society – Manzano del Sol Village in Albuquerque
  • Haven Care Aspen House in Albuquerque
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • Landmark at Desert Gardens in Hobbs
  • La Vida Llena Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • Life Care Center in Farmington
  • Lovington Healthcare in Lovington
  • The Meadows Home at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • MorningStar Assisted Living and Memory Care of Albuquerque
  • MorningStar Memory Care at North Ridge in Albuquerque
  • The Neighborhood Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • The Neighborhood Health Care in Rio Rancho
  • Odelia Healthcare (Camino Healthcare) in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ravenna Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • The Retreat Healthcare in Rio Rancho
  • The Rio at Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • Roberta’s Family Care Home Assisted Living in Anton Chico
  • Sandia Senior Suites in Albuquerque
  • Santa Fe Care Center in Santa Fe
  • Sierra Health Care Center in Truth or Consequences
  • Sierra Hills Assisted Living in Truth or Consequences
  • Silver Wings Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque
  • Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites in Albuquerque
  • St. Anthony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • The Suites at Rio Vista in Rio Rancho
  • Sunny Day Assisted Living in Gallup
  • Vida Encantada Nursing & Rehabilitation in Las Vegas
  • Village at Northrise in Las Cruces
  • Wheatfields Senior Living Community in Clovis
  • White Sands Healthcare in Hobbs
  • The Woodmark at Uptown in Albuquerque

Statewide cases

County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

  • Bernalillo County: 68,749
  • Catron County: 134
  • Chaves County: 11,383
  • Cibola County: 3,177
  • Colfax County: 1,051
  • Curry County: 6,780
  • De Baca County: 217
  • Doña Ana County: 27,870
  • Eddy County: 9,756
  • Grant County: 1,975
  • Guadalupe County: 559
  • Harding County: 14
  • Hidalgo County: 526
  • Lea County: 12,346
  • Lincoln County: 2,460
  • Los Alamos County: 637
  • Luna County: 3,715
  • McKinley County: 13,494
  • Mora County: 247
  • Otero County: 5,170
  • Quay County: 818
  • Rio Arriba County: 4,323
  • Roosevelt County: 2,507
  • Sandoval County: 14,291
  • San Juan County: 17,682
  • San Miguel County: 2,205
  • Santa Fe County: 11,978
  • Sierra County: 924
  • Socorro County: 1,557
  • Taos County: 2,156
  • Torrance County: 1,148
  • Union County: 296
  • Valencia County: 8,123

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 455
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 501
  • Otero County Processing Center: 495
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 349

Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 315
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 256
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 762
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 169
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 130
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 473
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 222
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 229
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 234
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 76

*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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