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NM records 5 new virus deaths, 205 new cases


In this file photo, Presbyterian staffer Juliette Rohde works with a driver at a coronavirus testing site, established after a spike in cases in the South Valley. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico reported five more coronavirus deaths – including a Sandoval County man at least 100 years old – as the statewide death toll climbed to 755.

Health officials also announced that testing had detected 205 new virus cases, pushing the state’s seven-day rolling average to 141. The new figure remains well below the state’s goal of an average of 168 cases a day.

All five people whose deaths were reported Wednesday had underlying medical conditions of some kind, a risk factor for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

They ranged in age from their 40s to their 100s, health officials said.

The deaths come as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and top health officials prepare to brief the public Thursday on changes to New Mexico’s health order. She has already announced plans to allow indoor dining at restaurants and breweries on a limited basis, and to boost the operating capacity of churches, starting this weekend.

But other changes may be unveiled. A key question is whether to allow elementary school students to return to campus for two days a week after Labor Day as part of a hybrid learning schedule that includes a mix of in-person and online classes.

With Wednesday’s numbers, New Mexico remains in compliance with seven of its eight reopening criteria – with contact tracing the lone trouble spot. The Department of Health estimates it takes 47 hours to isolate someone who may have been exposed to COVID-19, which is 11 hours longer than the state’s goal.

Bernalillo County, the state’s most populous county, led the state with 39 new virus cases Wednesday, followed by Lea County with 27 infections.

But statistical modeling for the state estimates that the disease is spreading most rapidly in northeastern New Mexico, an area that includes Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties.

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