NM sets coronavirus records


Last updated 4/4/2020 at 1:15pm

New Mexico on Friday set unwelcome single-day records for positive tests of COVID-19 and for deaths from the disease.

State officials also projected the virus will kill between 2,100 and 4,700 New Mexicans over the next 12 months — a prediction much worse than the 510 state deaths forecast a week earlier by University of Washington researchers.

“The only real way to attack this virus is to stay away from it,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during a news conference streamed on the governor’s Facebook page.

Eastern New Mexico had been only mildly touched by COVID-19 going into the weekend — six positive tests in Curry County and one in Roosevelt County — with no deaths.

Across the state line in Texas, however, numbers have increased rapidly. Lubbock County, which had 41 confirmed cases on March 29, had 138 confirmed cases on Saturday. Four deaths had been reported in the Lubbock area, in addition to deaths in Hockley and Castro counties.

In Amarillo, Potter and Randall counties had 48 confirmed cases on Saturday, compared to seven on March 29. No deaths had occurred among Amarillo residents, but one Oldham County resident died in an Amarillo hospital.

In New Mexico, the number of coronavirus cases on Saturday was at 495, with 92 new cases announced Friday.

The state also announced three more deaths on Friday, which makes 10 since March 25. Seven deaths occurred in Bernalillo County, two in Sandoval County and one in Eddy County.

Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, a physician, warned thousands of deaths are likely in New Mexico.

A relatively older population and high rates of chronic liver disease, diabetes and other illnesses, he said, make New Mexico particularly vulnerable to coronavirus deaths. In some counties, for example, about half the population is older than 60, while the statewide figure is roughly 23%.

“When we stay home, when we wash our hands after we cough ... it makes the difference” in how the projections turn out, Scrase said.

The Albuquerque Journal contributed to this report.


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