March 18, 2020

Five new cases of COVID-19, one case without a known link

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Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced five new cases of COVID-19, a disease caused by a coronavirus, at a Wednesday press conference. The new cases bring the state’s total to 28 cases. 

Update (3/19): Seven new COVID-19 cases, total in NM now 35

The state Department of Health said the new cases include:

  • A woman in Bernalillo County in her 80s
  • A woman in Bernalillo County in her 40s
  • A woman in Santa Fe County in her 30s
  • A woman in Sandoval County in her teens
  • A woman in Sandoval County in her 50s

Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Chad Smelser said one of the positive cases in Bernalillo County is an individual who had no known travel or exposure to someone who previously tested positive for the virus.

“That means to us that there was spread in our community,” Smelser said. “When you have community spread, you need to institute social distancing and community mitigation techniques.”

The tally of COVID-19 cases, including Wednesday’s numbers, include:

  • Bernalillo County: 16
  • Sandoval County: 4
  • Santa Fe County: 5
  • Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 1

The state Department of Health said it has active investigations into each of the positive patients, which includes “contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.”

State officials are strongly advising all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures at this time and to stay home, especially if sick.

People without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19.

“This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing,” a press release from the Governor’s Office reads. “While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.”

Individuals with non-health-related questions or concerns can call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov for more information.

Those who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately at 1-855-600-3453.