Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – New Mexico health officials on Wednesday announced the largest number of new coronavirus cases in Bernalillo County in a single day so far this month, even as new case numbers decline in other parts of the state.
Of the 156 new positive COVID-19 test results statewide, 34 came from the state’s most populous county, according to state Department of Health data.
While the increase might end up being a blip, it comes several weeks after large protests in Albuquerque over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
However, Health Department spokesman David Morgan said Wednesday that the agency’s contact investigations have not shown Black Lives Matter protests to be the root of any uptick in cases.
Meanwhile, four additional deaths were reported in New Mexico on Wednesday due to complications from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll from the disease to 480.
Two of those who died were individuals in their 90s who were residents of the Village at Alameda, an assisted living facility in Albuquerque. Both of those individuals had underlying health conditions.
The other two coronavirus-related deaths occurred in San Juan County, where a man in his 70s died, and in Colfax County, where a woman in her 90s died.
The death in Colfax County was the first in that northern New Mexico county since the coronavirus outbreak began in mid-March.
Overall, the number of new COVID-19 cases in New Mexico has decreased in recent weeks, based on a rolling average.
At the same time, however, coronavirus case numbers have increased over the past two weeks in neighboring Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Utah, according to the online site covidexitstrategy.org.
That development has prompted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and top state health officials to urge New Mexicans to stay home when feeling sick and to wear a mask when in public settings.
The governor has largely held off from easing business restrictions since dine-in restaurants, gyms and salons were allowed to reopen at limited capacity on June 1, although breweries were allowed to start gradually reopening on June 12.
The state’s current emergency public health order runs through July 1 but is expected to be extended by Lujan Grisham, with some changes possible.
As of Wednesday, the Department of Health had designated 4,984 New Mexico coronavirus cases as having recovered, meaning an overall 45.4% statewide recovery rate.