More than 100 new COVID-19 cases at Otero County Prison - Albuquerque Journal

More than 100 new COVID-19 cases at Otero County Prison

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

State health officials announced a dramatic surge – 116 new cases – of COVID-19 at a state prison in southern New Mexico, bringing the total in that facility to 162.

The news comes one day after the state announced the first death of an inmate from that lockup – the Otero County Prison – related to the virus.

Morgen Jaco, a New Mexico Corrections Department spokesman, said four inmates from the prison are hospitalized in El Paso. One of them is on a ventilator.

“The remainder of the positive cases are asymptomatic,” Jaco said.

The outbreak at the prison made up the majority of the 227 new cases recorded in a Tuesday afternoon update, bringing the statewide total to 8,024.

Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office, also reported five additional deaths in Bernalillo, McKinley, Cibola and San Juan counties. Each person reportedly had underlying medical conditions. Those who died are:

⋄ Two men from McKinley County, in their 30s and 50s.

⋄ A Bernalillo County woman in her 90s. She was a resident of Uptown Genesis facility in Albuquerque.

⋄ A Cibola County man in his 80s. He was a resident of Good Samaritan Society facility in Grants.

⋄ A San Juan County woman in her 50s.

Sackett said the new cases include 42 in San Juan County, 30 in McKinley County, 15 in Bernalillo County, four in Santa Fe County, three each in Doña Ana, Sandoval and Valencia counties, two each in Lincoln, Curry and Cibola counties and one each in Chaves, Luna, Rio Arriba, Socorro and Taos counties.

There are 182 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state and 2,960 designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health.

Aside from the spike in cases at the Otero prison, Sackett said, there is also a case at the Penitentiary of New Mexico outside Santa Fe that had been previously, erroneously, attributed to Bernalillo County numbers.

The Otero prison, which houses both state and federal inmates, has had 228 COVID-19 cases. The neighboring Otero County Processing Center, which houses Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees, has had 92 cases.

Jaco said the new cases at Otero prison came to light after four prisoners “reported feeling unwell” over the weekend. All four tested positive for COVID-19.

She said that 164 prisoners who “may have had any form of contact” were tested and that 116 of them tested positive.

Jaco did not say how they believe the initial four inmates got sick but said the remaining 379 inmates at the prison were retested Tuesday. Those results are pending.

She said the Corrections Department is taking “aggressive steps” to protect staffers and inmates, including keeping infected inmates isolated and all housing units separated from one another.

“All affected areas are tested every three to four days, and other areas of the facility will be tested weekly,” Jaco said. “Staff members working in affected areas will also be tested weekly and will continue to be closely monitored for symptoms.”

Home » News » Albuquerque News » More than 100 new COVID-19 cases at Otero County Prison

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber for years of ...
ABQnews Seeker
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Theodore 'Ted' Kaczynski, ... WASHINGTON (AP) -- Theodore 'Ted' Kaczynski, the Harvard-educated mathematician who retreated to a dingy shack in the Montana wilderness and ran a 17-year bombing ...
Photos from the funeral for Archbishop Emeritus Michael Sheehan
ABQnews Seeker
Meet the former Alamogordo resident making a big impact ...
ABQnews Seeker
He grew up in New Mexico, ... He grew up in New Mexico, so it was no surprise Houston Astros prospect Quincy Hamilton looked at home in Isotopes Park this week.
Five factors to consider as United takes "professional approach" ...
ABQnews Seeker
Save the long-odds conversation for someone ... Save the long-odds conversation for someone else. United's players and coaches don't want to hear it.
UNM's Museum of Southwestern Biology to display collections at ...
ABQnews Seeker
From 4-9 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, ... From 4-9 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, the public is invited to "Evolution Revealed: An Open Collections Event."
Hundreds pack Santa Fe cathedral for Archbishop Sheehan’s funeral ...
ABQnews Seeker
Achbishop Emeritus Michael J. Sheehan died ... Achbishop Emeritus Michael J. Sheehan died June 3 at age 83. Here's how he was remembered.
Barelas Park reopens after nearly $2 million renovation
ABQnews Seeker
Barelas Park reopened to the public ... Barelas Park reopened to the public Wednesday with many new features.
New Mexico State Police officer accused of sexually assaulting ...
ABQnews Seeker
A State Police officer was arrested ... A State Police officer was arrested Friday in the alleged sexual assault of a 20-year-old woman while the two were on a New Mexico ...
Solomon Peña to remain in custody, judge rules
ABQnews Seeker
A judge said he could find ... A judge said he could find no conditions of release that would reasonably ensure the safety of the community, despite a defense attorney's contention ...