Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Portales resident 'doing great' despite COVID-19 report

PORTALES — When the Heartland Continuing Care Center resident first learned on Friday that she’d tested positive for COVID-19, she was none too happy about it.

“She gave us an earful,” Heartland CEO Ranelle Tweedy said of the 96-year-old woman’s reaction to the news.

“She said nobody was going to tell her she had this silly virus.”

Tweedy said the resident, whom she would not identify because of privacy laws, had not felt sick before or after she was most recently tested on May 12.

The positive result came from a routine molecular swab test that all of the Center’s 52 residents have received, Tweedy said.

The woman was tested again on Saturday with a rapid diagnostic test and that test was negative for COVID-19.

Tweedy said she is waiting on the Department of Health to recommend the best time for the resident to take the molecular swab test again, which the Food and Drug Administration has suggested should be used to validate the rapid test.

“She is doing great, doesn’t have any issues,” Tweedy said early Sunday afternoon. “She’s pretty disgusted that she’s tested positive since she’s had absolutely no symptoms.”

Saturday was a dark day for eastern New Mexico in its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The region set a one-day record for new cases of COVID-19 and two local nursing homes reported confirmed cases of the virus.

Roosevelt County had 12 new cases reported Saturday, increasing its total from 14 to 26. Curry County had four new cases reported Saturday — and one more on Sunday, increasing its total to 41 — double the number it had May 5.

Also Saturday, Retirement Ranch in Clovis and Heartland in Portales joined the growing list of New Mexico senior centers reporting cases of coronavirus.

Retirement Ranch posted on its Facebook page that it has two positive cases — both staff members who are asymptomatic. The staff members have been placed on leave.

Roosevelt General Hospital Administrator Kaye Green reported on the RGH Facebook page that nine of the most recent Roosevelt County cases came through the hospital, but none are currently hospitalized. Green said she believes seven of the new cases were tested because individuals believed they had been exposed by another person who had tested positive.

Officials said they do not know the source of the other new cases, but it may not be cause for concern.

“I would like to think the numbers are a result of the significant increase in available testing,” said Dan Heerding, the emergency management coordinator for the city of Clovis.

“DOH (New Mexico Department of Health) won’t tell us where the cases are from other than a ZIP code. They cite HIPPA (privacy) laws as the reason.”

Neither Curry nor Roosevelt counties has reported a COVID-19 related death and, even with Saturday’s spike, both are still below the state average in the number of cases per-100,000 population.

The state per-capita rate is 278.8. Curry County is at 79.7, while Roosevelt County is at 136.

The number of tests the state has performed has increased dramatically in recent weeks — from 71,118 on May 1 to 128,574 through Saturday.

The number of recovered cases in the state has also increased of late — from 785 on May 1 to 1,755 through Sunday.

Before the 16 cases reported in Curry-Roosevelt counties on Saturday, the single-day high was five on April 30.

More good news: The lone COVID-19 patient admitted to Clovis’ Plains Regional Medical Center since the pandemic began was discharged on Saturday, hospital spokeswoman Amanda Schoenberg said.

But more bad news on the COVID-19 front came from the Texas Panhandle, where cases continue to skyrocket.

Amarillo had 1,456 cases a week ago, but 2,731 on Sunday. Deaf Smith County, where Hereford is the county seat, has gone from 46 cases a week ago to 122 on Sunday.

Six deaths in Deaf Smith County have been attributed to COVID-19 since Tuesday.

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