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State’s growth in new COVID-19 cases slows

Bicyclists Heike Kalesse, left, and Sebastian Los wait in a line of motorists to be tested for COVID-19 at Lovelace hospital near downtown Albuquerque in this July 8 file photo. New Mexico posted its lowest single-day number of new confirmed cases in nearly a month on Friday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico health officials reported seven additional deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, despite reporting the state’s lowest number of new cases in nearly a month.

A day after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the state’s public health orders would be extended for a month with only minor changes, health officials announced 216 new COVID-19 cases.

That figure is the lowest single-day case number since July 5 – when state officials reported 201 new cases – and caused the state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases to drop from 318 to 305, based on a Journal analysis.

However, the seven additional deaths due to COVID-19 complications brought New Mexico’s death tally from the disease to 642 since the pandemic started in mid-March.

Three of those who died were Bernalillo County residents with underlying health conditions – a man in his 50s, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s.

Two Doña Ana County residents also died – a woman in her 70s and another woman in her 80s – while the two remaining fatalities involved residents of San Juan and Socorro counties, respectively.

New Mexico’s coronavirus case counts have increased sharply over the past month as the state has expanded its testing capacity and tightened restrictions on those entering New Mexico.

However, both hospitalization and death figures from the virus remain below peak levels from mid-May, which state officials have attributed at least in part to the fact that those testing positive have increasingly been younger and middle-aged New Mexicans.

“We’re pleased and relieved that we’re not seeing a corresponding increase in hospitalizations,” Human Services Secretary David Scrase said during a Thursday news conference.

As of Friday, there were 152 people hospitalized due to the virus across the state, a figure that includes out-of-state patients transferred to New Mexico for treatment.

That was down from 161 individuals hospitalized a week earlier.

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