SANTA FE – New Mexico reported 253 new coronavirus cases Monday – one of the highest totals since the pandemic began – as Doña Ana County emerged as a new hot spot.
State health officials also said two more residents died of the virus, pushing the statewide death toll to 515.
Monday’s case total matches the third-highest in a day since the state’s first COVID-19 infections were detected March 11.
Doña Ana County, which borders Texas and Mexico, recorded the most cases in Monday’s report – 85 new positive tests.
It marks a change from previous trends, when San Juan, McKinley and Bernalillo counties often led the state in new infections.
The number of virus patients hospitalized throughout the state is growing – to 129 on Monday, an 8% increase over the day before.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has put the state’s plans to reopen more of the economy on hold and pleaded with New Mexicans to take the virus seriously – by wearing masks and avoiding unnecessary trips outside their homes. She also has said the state may reimpose more business restrictions if the transmission numbers don’t improve.
A public health order mandates the wearing of masks in public settings, with exceptions for eating, drinking or exercising.
New Mexico’s highest day for confirmed cases is June 5, when 330 infections were reported, driven partly by an outbreak at the Otero County prison. The state reported 281 cases Saturday and 253 Friday.
Deaths haven’t climbed as sharply as cases.
The state reported two deaths Monday – a man in his 60s from Bernalillo County and a man in his 70s from Sandoval County.
Overall, New Mexico has now had 13,507 cases of COVID-19 out of 380,240 tests, for a positive rate of 3.6%.