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NM nears 20,000 cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases

Nurses from Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center collect samples from people at a Santa Fe site in this July 9 file photo. New Mexico’s death tally from COVID-19 increased to 626 on Tuesday. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico is approaching 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in mid-March, even as death rates from the virus remain below peak levels.

Top state health officials reported 301 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a figure that includes 80 new cases in Bernalillo County.

There have been 19,791 confirmed cases statewide, though 7,459 – about 37.7% of all cases – have been designated as having recovered.

State officials have said the actual number of recoveries is likely even higher as some individuals who test positive for COVID-19 do not have symptoms or have only mild symptoms.

In addition, Department of Health officials announced seven additional deaths due to complications from the disease on Tuesday, bringing the state’s death toll to 626.

Most of those who died were elderly individuals with underlying health conditions. State health officials have cited data showing elderly citizens are at much higher risk of death than younger New Mexicans infected with COVID-19.

Of the seven deaths, two were women – one in her 60s and one in her 70s – from Doña Ana County.

There were also single deaths reported in Bernalillo, Grant, McKinley, Valencia and Eddy counties.

While New Mexico’s death tally has increased steadily, death rates from the disease remain lower than in mid-May, when the state averaged about 10 deaths per day.

Meanwhile, Hispanics this week have overtaken Native Americans as the most affected ethnic group, according to DOH data.

While Native Americans still have disproportionately high infection rates based on the state’s population, Hispanics now make up 39.5% of the state’s COVID-19 cases. Native Americans make up about 37.7% of the state’s cases, though they represent only about 11% of the state’s population.

Hispanics or Latinos make up roughly 49% of the state’s population, based on 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Overall, about 3.7% of all coronavirus tests conducted in New Mexico have come back positive.

That positivity rate has fluctuated in recent weeks, but was at a rolling average of 4% as of this week, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

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