Sixth person in NM with coronavirus died; 48 new positive tests

The state announced Wednesday a sixth person with COVID-19 died in the state, and that an additional 48 people tested positive for the disease. Update (4/2/2020): DOH: Seventh COVID-19 patient in NM dies; total positive cases in state now over 400

The state Department of Health said that the person who died was a woman in her 90s from Sandoval County. She had underlying medical conditions and died on Tuesday. She is the first person to die with COVID-19 in Sandoval County. The 48 new positive tests bring the state’s total to 363 positive tests.

NM reports 29 new cases of COVID-19

New Mexico officials announced Sunday an additional 29 positive COVID-19 cases. That number brings the state’s total to 237. 

Update (3/30): DOH: Two more deaths related to COVID-19; 44 new positive cases

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, the break-down of the new 29 positive cases are as follows:

9 new cases in Bernalillo County1 new case in Chaves County2 new cases in Curry County1 new case in Eddy County4 new cases in McKinley County4 new cases in San Juan County3 new cases in Sandoval County4 new cases in Santa Fe County1 new case in Valencia County

The state did not report any new deaths related to COVID-19. There have been two reported cases of COVID-19-related deaths since the state first started reporting positive cases earlier this month. 

Here is the current breakdown of the 237 positive test cases in New Mexico, including the cases reported on Sunday. 

Bernalillo County: 101Chaves County: 8Cibola County: 2Curry County: 3Doña Ana County: 17Eddy County: 4Lea County: 2McKinley County: 9Rio Arriba County: 2Roosevelt County: 1Sandoval County: 18San Juan County: 22San Miguel County: 1Santa Fe County: 34​​Socorro County: 2Taos County: 9Valencia County: 2

There are currently 22 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in New Mexico, according to state officials, but that number could include people who are hospitalized here, but who tested positive in another state. Likewise, the number does not account for New Mexicans who may have been hospitalized out of state. 

The state also announced there are 26 people who have reported to DOH that they have recovered from COVID-19. 

Through Sunday’s report, the state has processed 11,006 COVID-19 tests. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
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State: 13 new COVID-19 cases, 112 total positive tests so far

The New Mexico Department of Health announced that thirteen more people tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday. That means 112 people have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. Update (3/26): 24 new positive COVID-19 tests; 136 have tested positive total in NM

Of those, one patient died, which the DOH announced on Wednesday. That case was also the first case in Eddy County. A clerical error led the DOH to list an extra case in Chaves County on Tuesday.

State announces first death related to COVID-19

The New Mexico Department of Health announced a male, in his late 70s, in Eddy County died after contracting COVID-19. It’s the first reported death in the state related to the disease. The man had multiple, chronic underlying health issues according to the DOH. “This is a tragic day,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. The man entered Artesia General Hospital on Sunday, March 22 and died the same day.

State DOH reports 14 new COVID-19 cases; total of 57

On Saturday, the New Mexico Department of Health announced fourteen new positive tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in New Mexico to 57. This is the first day the state reported double-digits of new positive cases, which included the first case in Lea County in southeastern New Mexico. Of the new cases, the majority—nine—are in Bernalillo County. 

The new cases in Bernalillo are:

A female in her 70sA female in her 60sTwo males in their 40sTwo males in their 30sA female in her 30sA female in her 20sA male infant

The Lea County case is a male in his 70s. Update (3/22): Sunday update: Eight new positive coronavirus cases; 65 total

The other cases are: A female in her 20s from Doña Ana County; a female in her 40s from Sandoval County; a male in his 50s from Santa Fe County; and a female in her 50s in Taos County. The DOH provided a breakdown of all cases, including the newly reported tests from Saturday.

State orders restrictions on capacity of restaurants, bars (Updated)

All restaurants, bars, breweries, eateries and other food establishments in New Mexico will not be able to operate at more than 50 percent maximum occupancy or 50 percent of seating capacity. That is part of a change to the public health emergency the state ordered on Thursday, and a further restriction aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, a type of coronavirus, in New Mexico. As of Sunday, 17 people in New Mexico had tested positive for COVID-19. The order by Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday. 

The order also says that tables and booths will not be able to seat more than six people and that all occupied tables and booths must be separated by at least six feet. “The best thing New Mexicans can do right now is self-isolate and limit person-to-person contact,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

NM officials bring on additional infectious disease specialist to help with COVID-19

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Health have tapped an expert familiar with New Mexico’s public health system as well as infectious diseases to help with the state’s response to COVID-19, a type of coronavirus. The move comes as the number of presumptive positive test results for COVID-19 in New Mexico continues to increase. Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham, confirmed that Dr. Steve Jenison was brought on as an acting deputy secretary to help combat the growing presence of COVID-19 in the state. 

Meyers Sackett said Jenison was unavailable for an interview with NM Political Report as he is “focused on assisting the state with its actions in the face of this pandemic right now,” and added that the department sees Jenison’s expertise as an integral part of combating the rapid spread of COVID-19. “DOH and the state as a whole is using the most effective tools and, in this case, bringing in additional expertise during this emergent time,” Meyers Sackett said in an email to NM Political Report on Sunday. Meyers Sackett said Jenison started last week to help DOH Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel. 

“DOH has an extreme amount of need right now as far as managing this crisis,” Meyers Sackett said. 

Jenison is a clinical virologist and previously worked for the DOH where he served as the medical director of the DOH’s infectious diseases bureau for 15 years.

COVID-19 cases in NM: 13

The New Mexico Department of Health announced Saturday an additional three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. The new cases bring New Mexico’s total to 13. 

Update from 03/15: Four more positive COVID-19 cases bring state’s total to 17

According to the DOH, the three new cases include a woman and a man, both in their 60s and both from Sandoval County, and a woman in her 50s from Bernalillo County. 

The announcement did not include specifics of whether the three new cases were contracted through travel. 

Here is a break-down of all confirmed cases so far. 

​Bernalillo County: 6​Sandoval County: 2​Santa Fe County: 3​Socorro County: 2

The DOH said it was investigating contacts with the new cases. 

All presumptive positive cases are sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a public health emergency for New Mexico on Wednesday after the initial cases were reported. By Thursday, along with additional confirmed cases, the state issued a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people. 

State officials continue to encourage people to stay home from work if they are sick, limit out-of-state travel and to be vigilant about washing their hands as well as cleaning “high-touch” surfaces. 

Anyone who is showing signs of COVID-19, which includes fever, cough or trouble breathing  should call the DOH at 1-855-600-3453.

State’s COVID-19 testing capacity gets boost from private lab

The state’s testing capacity for COVID-19, a type of coronavirus, has expanded now that the private company TriCore Reference Laboratories is joining the effort. The governor’s office announced the expanded capacity Thursday afternoon. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the state has the capacity for testing 2,400 individuals for COVID-19 during a Wednesday press conference. With TriCore on board, the state now has more capacity to test individuals for the virus, though it’s unclear how many tests this has added to the state’s capacity. TriCore is now performing molecular diagnostic tests of respiratory specimens for COVID-19 virus.

State agencies still open, public encouraged to access them online or by phone

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of public health emergency Wednesday in the light of three presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the state. By the end of the day, her office announced a fourth case. Lujan Grisham’s message to the public was to avoid unnecessary human to human contact, consider not traveling outside of the state and work from home if possible. But that can be difficult for state employees whose jobs require them to work directly with the public. 

Lujan Grisham also announced that non-essential state employees would be allowed to work from home. A spokesman told NM Political Report Thursday morning that the governor’s intention was “to keep as many people working at home as possible.”

Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the governor, said Lujan Grisham was not referring to non-essential employees in a technical sense, but instead calling on cabinet secretaries to encourage employees to “telework” if they can. 

“It’s every secretary’s obligation to find a way to execute that,” Stelnicki said. 

But that’s not to say public-facing employees will stop working.