Rising COVID-19 rates concern state officials
Governor: "Even with vaccines coming, it’s going to be hard, but we can do it."
Last updated 10/1/2020 at 4:42pm
SANTA FE — State officials did not announce any pending changes to public health orders, but noted concerns with rising COVID-19 rates across the state during a Thursday virtual address.
Human Services Secretary David Scrase said Bernalillo County and the southeast area of New Mexico are seeing the higher infection numbers, but an upward trend is pretty consistent across the state.
The New Mexico Department of Health announced 227 new cases Thursday, bringing the total positives to 29,661 since March.
The case count includes three in Curry County and four in Roosevelt County. The Curry County number is a significant drop from Wednesday’s case count of 33. Over the last nine days of September, Curry reported 108 new cases after averaging 3.2 the first three weeks of the month.
The state reported five new deaths, bringing the total to 882. The state has a spread rate of 1.27 and 171 average daily cases, above targets of 1.05 and 168. Test positivity is 3.24%.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Scrase advised New Mexicans to continue to follow COVID-safe guidelines in their daily activities.
I think we have the right public health orders out there,” Scrase said. “In order for those directives to work, we all have to follow them. We all have to wear masks. We all have to socially distance. We have to avoid large gatherings.”
Lujan Grisham noted the state saw its second consecutive weekly increase in rapid responses at 248 from Sept. 21-27. That’s the second-highest weekly total behind the 254 recorded Aug. 10-16. Among counties with more than five rapid responses, Curry County is third with a 50% increase over the last week behind Lea (90%) and Eddy (60%) counties.
The governor advised people try to limit activities that involve travel to around three to five per day.
“If you’re going to seven or eight places in a day,” Lujan Grisham said, “we’re giving this virus far too many opportunities to spread.”
In other COVID-related announcements:
• During his update, Education Secretary Ryan Stewart noted Quay County has become eligible to return to a hybrid education model, while Roosevelt stays as one of five “red” counties with daily case counts above 8 per 100,000 residents and test positivity at 5% or above. Curry moved back into the red zone since being cleared two weeks before, but Stewart said a county in that circumstance will not immediately be remanded to remote learning to keep students out of a “yo-yo” status.
• A separate communication from the Public Education Department noted one Curry County case among 10 new positive cases in New Mexico’s public school population. The infected individual was a staff member who was last on school property Tuesday.