State health officials announced Sunday 240 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths related to the disease. Sunday marks the 18th day in a row that the state has reported more than 200 new cases.
Lea County reported a record-high 35 new cases. Bernalillo reported 99 new cases for the second day in a row; Doña Ana County reported 30 new cases, while three other counties reported low double-digit increases.
New Mexico has now had a total of 16,971 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started. The state processed 8,551 tests since Saturday, representing a 2.8 percent positivity rate. The two deaths bring the state’s death toll to 571.
State health officials announced Saturday 280 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths related to the disease. The new cases bring the state’s total tally of COVID-19 cases to 16,736 reported since the start of the pandemic in early March. Saturday marks the 17th day in a row that the state has reported more than 200 new cases, and a whopping eight counties reported double-digit case increases. Those counties include Bernalillo (99), Doña Ana (46), San Juan (20), McKinley (19), Curry (11), Santa Fe (11), Sandoval (10) and Lea (10). The state also reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 at the New Mexico Corrections Department’s Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County.
The state processed 8,366 tests since Friday, representing a 3.3 percent positivity rate.
There are currently 160 individuals hospitalized with the disease, a decrease of six since Friday.
Younger New Mexicans are now contracting COVID-19 at higher rates than earlier in the pandemic, according to the state Human Services Department Sec. David Scrase.
The state has reported over 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the first two weeks of July, bringing the state’s total to 16,456.
“This big surge in cases is in large part contributed to by younger folks,” Scrase said during a Friday afternoon press briefing. “Clearly, the proportion of 20-29 year olds [with COVID] has gone up.”
Source: New Mexico Health Services Department
The state doesn’t have data on mobility by age group, but Scrase said he’d bet “that people in these younger age groups where the cases are way up are traveling much more every day.”
On the other hand, cases among older New Mexicans have held steady, despite the increase in new cases reported each day.
“I think it’s that very old people know they shouldn’t be going in anywhere, and they are staying home,” Scrase said.
Scrase said cases have increased among children and young adults as well in recent days.
“Kids 0-17 and young adults 18-20, that number is drifting up,” Scrase said. “It looks like it’s in the 15 percent range now, which is higher than it was last week.”
That’s a troubling development as education leaders and the state grapple with developing safe protocols for children for the upcoming school year. County surges
The state Department of Health (DOH) is now seeing cases increase each day in each region of the state and at rates that are higher than in the early days of the pandemic, which Scrase indicated is cause for concern.
“That uptick is contributed to by virtually every region.
The state of New Mexico has joined a multidistrict litigation against the manufacturers of the aqueous film-forming foams that were used in firefighting activities across the country and in Air Force Bases in New Mexico which led to groundwater contamination.
A U.S. judicial panel earlier this year flagged the state’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense over the contamination for inclusion in the multidistrict tort proceeding, which encompasses roughly 500 pending cases related to PFAS contamination. The litigation will be heard in a U.S. District Court in South Carolina. “That’s a recent development,” said Chris Atencio, Assistant General Counsel at the New Mexico Environment Department. “We’ve gone through that process and our case is now included in that. We’re working with our council, the Attorney General’s office and folks internally to try to evaluate the requirements of that process and how best to proceed.
Federal regulators are in the midst of an application process for a proposed 135-mile pipeline that would transport natural gas from Eddy County to Waha, Texas. But with oil and gas prices low, renewables on the rise, and a growing methane emissions problem in the Permian Basin, critics argue building a new pipeline in today’s environment is a step in the wrong direction.
Summit Midstream, the project developer, proposed the pipeline in 2018, when oil production in the Permian Basin was booming. Exxon Mobil acquired about 30 percent ownership of the project, while XTO Energy, which is owned by Exxon Mobil, signed on as an anchor tenant to use the majority of the pipeline’s capacity. In March, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave the project its first big greenlight when it released a draft environmental assessment that found it would have little impact on the surrounding environment and communities.
The proposed route of the Double E pipeline. Source: Double E Pipeline
While proponents of the pipeline say it will help alleviate some of the excessive venting and flaring of natural gas that comes up with the oil in the Permian Basin, critics argue FERC failed to consider the cumulative climate impacts of the project, particularly the impact of increased methane emissions both in the Permian Basin, where the natural gas is produced, and in the “downstream” market when that natural gas is combusted.
XTO Energy flares about 5 percent of its production, and is responsible for roughly 10 percent of statewide flaring, according to research conducted by Tom Singer, senior policy advisor at the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC).
To Nathalie Eddy’s eye, Loco Hills has become “a graveyard” of oil and gas development.
Eddy is the Colorado and New Mexico field advocate at the environmental group Earthworks. Eddy works frequently in the Permian Basin, using special imaging cameras to capture methane leaks coming from oil and gas wells sites in the area.
Loco Hills, located north of Carlsbad on the Lovington Highway, is a legacy oilfield whose landscape is now dotted with inactive wells, and a few wells still producing, stretching as far as the eye can see. Most of those defunct wells are located on state or federal public lands and they aren’t going away anytime soon. The area “offers a sobering glimpse of drilling’s irreversible damage that scars these public lands and makes the land unavailable for any future use for future generations,” Eddy told NM Political Report.
There is concern that other parts of the Permian Basin may suffer a similar fate. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Carlsbad field office was considered the busiest in the country last year, thanks to record levels of oil and gas production in the Permian Basin.
On Thursday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced 238 new cases of COVID-19 and six new deaths related to the disease. It’s the eighth consecutive day of 200+ single day increases in cases found by the state Department of Health. New Mexico has now had a total of 14,251 COVID-19 cases. The state has seen 3,068 new cases in the last 14 days, representing a 20 percent increase.
“The trends are frankly not going in the right direction,” Lujan Grisham said during a press briefing Thursday afternoon. “We are starting to see the kind of community spread that is creating spikes across the country and unfortunately they’re creating the same kind of spikes in New Mexico.”
The state processed 6,194 tests since Wednesday, with 3.8 percent of those tests being positive.
State health officials announced Friday 257 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths related to the disease heading into the Fourth of July weekend. The largest increases in new cases were in Bernalillo, Doña Ana and McKinley counties, three counties that have seen more new cases each day this week. Five of the eight new deaths were in McKinley County. The state also announced 11 new cases at the federal Torrance County Detention Facility. In all, five counties had double-digit rises in new cases.
Friday’s number of new cases represent the highest single-day increase since June 5, when the state saw a record 331 new cases reported.
Albuquerque residents coping with the COVID-19 pandemic have flocked to the Rio Grande this spring and summer in droves, said John Fleck, director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico. “What we’re seeing in Albuquerque is stunning. People are in the river in ways that we’ve never seen before,” Fleck told NM Political Report. “People are out wading in the river, splashing around, playing, setting up family picnics on the emerging sand banks.”
That fun may soon come to an abrupt end. For the first time in decades, Albuquerque is facing a dry Rio Grande.
State health officials reported Sunday afternoon 192 new cases of COVID-19 and one related death. Five counties reported double-increases in new cases: Bernalillo, San Juan, McKinley, Doña Ana and Santa Fe. It’s the first time Santa Fe County has reported a double-digit increase in new cases since March.
The state’s total tally for COVID-19 now stands at 11,809. The state said the death was a male in his 50s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. A total of 492 individuals have now died due to the disease.
The state Department of Health said there are currently 114 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19, a decrease of 8 since Saturday, the lowest number since April 19.