The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Detention officer tests positive


Last updated 6/13/2020 at 2:48pm

PORTALES — Roosevelt County Detention Center officials on Friday reported an officer has tested positive for COVID-19.

The officer, who was not named, was tested on Tuesday and is quarantined at home. The positive test is the first confirmed by the Department of Health at the facility, according to a county news release.

The release stated that on May 19-20, all of the RCDC staff and about 75% of detainees voluntarily took tests, with all coming back negative.

In partnership with Wellpath, the center’s onsite medical provider, a new round of testing will include 55 detainees, 29 security staff and 11 people designated as support staff and contractors.

Also Friday, New Mexico health officials announced new positive test results in four other detention facilities.

The Department of Health also announced six additional deaths related to the coronavirus, bringing the state’s death toll from the virus to 426.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defended her administration’s handling of the state’s corrections system during the pandemic, but acknowledged the difficulty of slowing the spread of the virus in such settings.

“I think we’re going to have new best practices in corrections,” the governor said.

Lujan Grisham also expressed concern about climbing COVID-19 case counts in neighboring Texas and Arizona, and said it’s still not safe to fully reopen New Mexico’s economy.

However, she announced that an existing public health order would be revised to allow New Mexico breweries to reopen at limited capacity, as of Friday.

Lujan Grisham cited several positive trends, including a decrease in the state’s virus transmission rate, which had dropped to 0.9 as of earlier this week. That means each individual infected with the virus transmits it to an average of 0.9 other people.

In all, the state had reported 9,526 total positive coronavirus cases through Friday. Officials said 3,983 cases have been designated as recovered. There were 179 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico with the virus as of Friday.

Curry-Roosevelt counties have reported a combined 124 cases — up from 95 cases on June 1 and from 26 cases on May 1.

Parmer County in Texas, which borders Curry County, had reported 120 cases as of Friday. Parmer County has a population of about 10,000 people.

The Albuquerque Journal and The News contributed to this report.


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