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New virus cases tie record high in New Mexico


In this July 9 photo, nurses with CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital collect samples from people to be tested for COVID-19 in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The number of new coronavirus infections detected in New Mexico tied the state’s record high Wednesday, reaching 330 cases.

The growth was driven by an explosion of cases in Bernalillo County, home to Albuquerque, the state’s largest city. The county’s new case total jumped from 65 on Tuesday to 162 on Wednesday.

Health officials also reported the deaths of six more residents, pushing the statewide death toll to 557.

Those who died ranged in age from their 30s to their 80s. Five of the six had underlying medical conditions, a risk factor for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The jump to 330 cases ties the daily record from June 5, when an outbreak at the Otero County prison helped drive the growth.

Wednesday’s surge in infections isn’t simply a result of increased testing. About 4.7% of the tests reported Wednesday were positive, up from about the state’s overall average of 3.6% since March.

The state reported 174 virus patients in hospitals Wednesday, a slight increase from the day before.

Statistical modeling by Presbyterian Healthcare Services and state officials, meanwhile, offers a hint of optimism.

The spread rate of the disease fell to an estimated 1.1 through Monday – meaning each sick person will, on average, infect 1.1 others. It had been 1.2 as recently as June 21, according to the Presbyterian data.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration issued a more stringent health order this week, requiring people to wear masks almost anytime they leave the house and banning indoor dining at restaurants.

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