State crosses 700 deaths, 10,000 recoveries

The state announced Friday that the number of deaths related to COVID-19 crossed 700. Amid a big jump in the number of reported tests after a couple of days under the average, the state Department of Health announced 175 additional COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths related to the disease. The total number of confirmed cases reached 23,160, while the number of deaths reached 703. The state’s announcement of crossing 600 deaths occurred 21 days ago on July 24. The number of deaths crossed 500 23 days before that, on July 1. 

Most of the newly reported deaths were from residents of northern New Mexico.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (8/14/20 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and HSD Secretary Dr. David Scrase gave an upbeat update on COVID-19 in the state — but warned that if New Mexicans don’t continue to follow COVID-safe practices, things would once again get worse in the state. Read more here.Watch the press conference here.At the press conference, officials expressed hope that a vaccine would arrive this winter, KOAT-TV reported.On Thursday, the state announced 177 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths. See county-by-county details here.An increase in cases in Valencia County has spread to a doctor’s office, a veterinarian’s office run by the doctor’s son and a dentist’s office run by another son.

Good news, but still far to go for NM’s COVID response

In another COVID-19 update with a positive tone, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her Human Services Department secretary outlined how the state’s response to COVID-19 has continued to improve in much of the state. “Let’s keep showing the country what leaders New Mexicans are,” Lujan Grisham said. Related: 177 new cases and two new deaths related to COVID-19

The state has consistently been under its goal of a 5 percent positivity rate—which is the percentage of positive tests out of the total number of tests—in recent days. “I think it really demonstrates that if we limit our activities, we limit the contact we have with individuals, that we wear masks, that we do good handwashing, those activities really make a difference,” Lujan Grisham said. But she and Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase warned that hitting gating criteria is not a finish line, but just a signal that they can consider further “risk” by reopening areas previously closed, including in-person instruction at public schools and further businesses.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (8/13/20 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. While cases continue to drop statewide, the number of cases in southeast New Mexico continue to grow. Read the story here.The state Department of Health said some people made fake cards that said they were exempted from the state’s mask mandate. The card used the logos of the state Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Cases in southern, SE NM grow; total tests drop

The New Mexico Department of Health announced 180 additional COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and two additional deaths related to the disease. The 180 confirmed cases represent 4.01 percent of the 4,486 tests reported since Tuesday. The 4,486 tests represent the lowest one-day total for COVID-19 cases since July 5 (not counting August 3, when the state only reported partial totals because of a technical disruption). The state of New Mexico seeks to keep the positivity rate, or the percentage of positive tests out of the total number of tests, below five percent. The state of New Mexico now has found 22,816 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents and reported 695 deaths related to the disease.

DOH warns of fake mask ‘exemption’ cards

The New Mexico Department of Health says that “counterfeit” face covering exemption cards in Santa Fe County are not distributed by the state of New Mexico or the U.S. government as claimed on the cards. 

The state mandates face coverings for those in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The department warns that those who create or use these cards could face a fourth degree felony. “People lying about a medical condition to get out of wearing a facemask literally puts their lives and that of those around them at risk,” DOH Secretary Kathy Kunkel said. “New Mexicans deserve to feel safe out in public, and fraudulent messaging like this is both illegal and potentially dangerous to people’s health.”

The cards say they are issued by the DOH and the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a release sent on Wednesday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and health officials have repeatedly said that wearing face masks is one of the key ways New Mexicans can slow the spread of COVID-19 and help New Mexico reopen more sectors of its economy. 

New Mexico is one of 34 states, plus the District of Columbia, with some form of face covering mandate in public. 

Texas requires masks in public in counties with more than 20 cases; nearly all counties that border New Mexico have at least 20 cases.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (8/12/20 edition)

This morning recap of COVID-19 news from New Mexico is available in a free email every weekday. Sign up here. See all of our COVID-19 coverage here. The state Department of Health announced 202 new cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico on Tuesday, with three additional deaths. Read more here.The Albuquerque Journal reported on the latest statistical modeling from the state that showed after a spike in July, things are starting to stabilize again in New Mexico.A day after reporting only single digit numbers of COVID-19 cases, Navajo Nation health officials announced just 19 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths on Tuesday. This brought the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 9,334, with 6,893 of whom have recovered and 473 who have died.The Albuquerque Journal reported on distance learning at Albuquerque Public Schools, the state’s largest school district.The Las Cruces Sun-News provided an update on what to expect for school as virtual learning begins Wednesday.An employee with Santa Fe Public Schools, in the Facilities and Maintenance Department, tested positive for COVID-19, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

NM Democrats praise Biden’s choice of Harris for running mate

While presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden did not choose New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as his running mate, he followed through on his promise to select a woman as his running mate when he chose California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris on Tuesday. Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, is the first woman of color as a running mate for a major political party. Democratic politicians in New Mexico, including Lujan Grisham, praised Biden’s choice. “It’s time to rebuild our country better than ever before. It’s time to take back the White House.

202 new COVID-19 cases, growth continues in Doña Ana County, SE NM

On Tuesday, the state Department of Health announced 202 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and three additional deaths related to the disease. The new cases were largely driven by cases in southern and eastern portions of the state, including 50 new cases in Doña Ana County, and 33 new cases in Lea County. Other counties in the area included 14 new cases in Eddy County and 13 in Chaves County. 

The number in Eddy County represented a new one-day high for the county, while the 33 cases in Lea County were the second-highest after the 35 cases reported on July 19. Bernalillo County also had 36 new cases, while the northwestern counties of McKinley (10) and San Juan (17) also contributed double-digit numbers to the state’s total. 

The 202 new cases represent 2.75 percent of the 7,340 newly reported tests. The state seeks to keep the positivity rate below 5 percent on a seven-day rolling average.

Lujan Grisham to speak at Democratic National Convention

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will speak at the unusual Democratic National Convention next week, where former Vice President Joe Biden will formally accept the Democratic nomination. Lujan Grisham is one of the list of speakers announced, and will speak on Wednesday, the same night as Biden’s as-yet unnamed vice presidential nominee. Lujan Grisham was on the short-list of vice presidential candidates, but said in recent weeks that she hadn’t had recent conversations with the Biden campaign. Biden committed early in the process to nominating a woman to be his running mate. The convention will be held online this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.