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.

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.

State not releasing COVID-19 numbers for county jails

As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise within state-run detention centers across New Mexico, namely in Otero County, the numbers for county jails often go overlooked by the general public. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office reports the number of positive cases within state and federal detention centers daily. Her office also includes the number of congregate care facilities that have seen positive tests in the last 28 days. But those daily reports do not include any information on the roughly half a dozen county jails around the state. 

According to the state Department of Health, those numbers are purposefully left out of daily reports because state officials think they would add more confusion than clarification. 

During a news conference on Wednesday, NM Political Report asked Lujan Grisham why the state was not releasing COVID-19 numbers for county detention centers. She said even though the state is collecting those numbers they are not released in daily updates from her office. Without clarifying the reason for not including those numbers in the updates, she said the data is there. 

“We know by zip code, we know by, often, occupation, we know by correctional facility, we know whether it’s staff or it’s an inmate, whether in a nursing home, whether it’s staff or a resident, we are and we continue to refine getting the data,” Lujan Grisham said. 

Immediately after the news conference, NM Political Report requested that data from Lujan Grisham’s office, but was told by a DOH spokesman that any request for county detention center data would need to be requested from the counties themselves. 

David Morgan, a spokesman for DOH, said the information would have to come from the counties that oversee each regional detention center and would likely require an official records request pursuant to the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA).

Bernalillo County reaches new record of COVID-19 cases; state hits second-highest daily number

The New Mexico Department of Health announced nearly 250 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, including nearly 100 in Bernalillo County and more than 40 in Doña Ana County. The state also announced three additional deaths related to the disease. The news came a day after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that the state would not ease restrictions and said that those who do not wear masks would be subject to $100 fines. The state now has found 12,520 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and identified 503 deaths related to the disease. The 248 new cases was the second highest single-day number, following only June 5, when the state announced 331 confirmed cases, which included large increases in the Otero County Prison Facility.

If COVID-19 situation doesn’t improve, NM may bring back restrictions

Not only is the state not going to expand its reopening, but if the COVID-19 situation in the state does not improve, the state could be looking at reimposing restrictions like other states throughout the country, including two that neighbor New Mexico. That was the message during Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s weekly press conference on COVID-19 in the state. 

“If we do not stabilize, we will move backward,” she said. Related: NM hits 500 total COVID-19 deaths

She announced two big changes to a public health order, which will run through July 15: All travelers from other states will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days and those not wearing masks in public will be subject to fines. Lujan Grisham said she wished she didn’t have to enforce the mask mandate through fines, but that there was not enough adherence to the state’s mask requirement. Businesses will also have a responsibility, she said. 

“Businesses, you must require customers to wear face coverings,” Lujan Grisham said.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (7/2/20 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. Note: There will not be a morning recap on Friday, July 3. The recap will return on Monday. The governor said, to avoid reimposing restrictions, New Mexicans need to wear masks.

NM hits 500 total COVID-19 deaths

New Mexico Health officials announced Wednesday an additional three deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 500. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also announced the new numbers during a news conference on Wednesday and called the number of deaths a “grim milestone.”

“Every single one of these is an incredible loss to the families and loved ones and to the entire state,” Lujan Grisham said. “And I know that it goes without saying that everyone mourns these losses and we send our condolences to the families.”

The most recent deaths related to COVID-19 are as follows:

A male in his 60s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 80s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions.A male in his 70s from Bernalillo County who was a patient at the Princeton Place facility in Albuquerque. State officials also announced an additional 130 cases of COVID-19 in the state for a total of 12,276 cases since the disease was first reported in the state in March. According to health officials there are 127 people currently being hospitalized for COVID-19, with 38 of them on ventilators. There are 5,514 cases that are deemed recovered, an increase of 121 since Tuesday, according to health officials.

WATCH: Gov. Lujan Grisham’s weekly COVID-19 press conference

Wednesday afternoon ,Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state officials held their weekly press conference on COVID-19. Since last Wednesday, the state Department of Health announced 1,157 cases, while cases have increased by large numbers in Arizona and Texas and those states, and others, have reimposed some restrictions. The entire press conference is available below. See the NM Political Report story on what the governor said here.

Governor signs revised budget, vetoes items

Governors don’t usually sign a budget twice in one year. But this is no normal year. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave her blessing to New Mexico’s revised budget legislation Tuesday, but she also used her veto power to cancel some of the cuts legislators approved during the special session. “We must recalibrate our state’s budget to meet these challenging times,” Lujan Grisham wrote in a letter to the state House of Representatives upon signing House Bill 1. “However, we should not lose sight of the important work that is still needed to create lasting opportunities for all New Mexicans.”

The budget plan uses a combination of spending cuts, reserves and federal funding to deal with a projected $2 billion drop in state revenue for the next fiscal year, which begins Wednesday.

Recap of New Mexico COVID-19 news (7/1/20 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. On Tuesday, the state Department of Health announced 168 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths. The new cases included a new high in Lea County. See more details here. The governor signed the revised budget to deal with the economic downturn and resulting revenue downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.A poll looked at how Hispanic families in New Mexico are handling the COVID-19 pandemic economically.