The Carlsbad region was poised to send $3 billion to New Mexico coffers, thanks to one of the biggest oil booms in history. Then came COVID.

On a Thursday in late May, Michael Trujillo sat in the slightly softened evening light and watched his three children play in the water at Lake Carlsbad Beach Park, an unexpected patch of blue in the Chihuahuan desert. With his pit bull puppy at his feet, Trujillo passed slices of pizza from a stack of three Little Caesars boxes to two men in camp chairs. All three are oilfield workers, Carlsbad natives and, unlike thousands of others in the industry, all are still employed. But that hasn’t relieved their anger at the New Mexico governor and her coronavirus shutdown orders. “She needs to open the place up and let us do what we need to do,” the 36-year-old Trujillo said. 

Like a lot of people in town, Trujillo wishes Carlsbad was in Texas. 

This story originally appeared at Searchlight New Mexico and is republished with permission. In that state, just 40 miles to the south, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t order a COVID-19 lockdown until April 2 and allowed businesses to start reopening by May 1.

NM sees a fourth-straight day of 200+ new COVID-19 cases

State health officials announced Sunday an additional 203 cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico, with no new deaths related to the disease. The number of tests, which reached a record-high on Saturday, dipped to one of the lowest totals in weeks. In total, there have been 13,256 confirmed cases in the state and 513 total deaths. 

Bernalillo County had the most new cases, but McKinley County still has the most total cases and San Juan County has the second highest total number of cases. 

State health officials also reported 119 people are currently hospitalized in New Mexico with COVID-19, a decrease of two since Saturday, and 5,860 people are deemed recovered from the disease, an increase of 15 since Saturday. 

The state reported 375,054 tests processed, an increase of 2,766 since Saturday. The percentage of positive tests to total tests was 7.3 percent, well above the state’s seven-day average. Here are the new cases broken down by county:

65 new cases in Bernalillo County8 new cases in Chaves County2 new cases in Cibola County3 new cases in Curry County38 new cases in Doña Ana County1 new case in Eddy County2 new cases in Grant County1 new case in Hidalgo County15 new cases in Lea County4 new cases in Luna County20 new cases in McKinley County1 new case in Roosevelt County1 new case in Sandoval County28 new cases in San Juan County8 new cases in Santa Fe County2 new cases in Torrance County4 new cases in Valencia County

And here are the county totals, including Sunday’s announcement:

Bernalillo County: 2,471Catron County: 2Chaves County: 120Cibola County: 233Colfax County: 9Curry County: 193Doña Ana County: 1,128Eddy County: 103Grant County: 24Guadalupe County: 20Harding County: 1Hidalgo County: 59Lea County: 187Lincoln County: 13Los Alamos County: 8Luna County: 101McKinley County: 3,502Otero County: 58Quay County: 6Rio Arriba County: 106Roosevelt County: 71Sandoval County: 761San Juan County: 2,542San Miguel County: 22Santa Fe County: 267Sierra County: 14Socorro County: 60Taos County: 48Torrance County: 48Union County: 8Valencia County: 146

The Otero County Prison facility, which houses inmates in state custody still has the highest number of total cases of COVID-19 among those in state or federal custody. 

Here are the totals for state prisons:

Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 6Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 1Otero County Prison Facility: 448Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 1

Here are the totals for federal detention centers within New Mexico. 

Cibola County Correctional Center: 2Otero County Prison Facility: 275Otero County Processing Center: 149Torrance County Detention Facility: 43

Health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear face coverings in public and to stay at home as much as possible. They also asked anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 to immediately see a healthcare professional or call the Department of Health at 1-855-600-3453. 

Nearly 300 new cases of COVID-19 in NM, as state processes record number of tests

On Saturday, the state Department of Health announced that 291 people tested positive for COVID-19, once again setting the standard for the second-most confirmed cases in a single day in New Mexico. The number came as the state reached a new single-day high in COVID-19 tests. Additionally, the state announced two additional deaths related to the disease. 

Of the tests that were part of Saturday’s announcement, the positivity rate was 3.26 percent, similar to those in recent days, but still up from the record lows earlier this month. 

As of Saturday, the state has now recorded 13,063 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 513 deaths related to the disease. Of the state’s confirmed cases, 1,446—or 11.1 percent—have come in the last seven days. Saturday’s numbers included 79 cases in Bernalillo County, 56 in Doña Ana County, 34 in McKinley County, 25 in Lea County, 21 in San Juan County, ten in Cibola County and 10 in Eddy County. 

Cases have dramatically spiked in Bernalillo County, as well as areas bordering Texas, which includes Doña Ana, Eddy and Lea counties.

Imprisoned migrants seeking better prison conditions describe an attack by pepper- spraying guards

ESTANCIA, N.M. – The migrants were on a days-long hunger strike when guards entered their prison dormitory in full riot gear —gas masks, shields and canisters of pepper spray. The officers corralled the two dozen or so inmates into a huddled mass. Two men fell to their knees, begging them not to attack. “Suddenly, they just started gassing us,” said Yandy Bacallao, a 34-year-old asylum seeker from Cuba. “You could just hear everyone screaming for help.”

At least one person collapsed.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise: DOH reports 257 new cases and 8 related deaths

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.