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NM reports 3 more deaths, 126 new virus cases


In this file photo, Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham prepare to give a briefing on the state’s response to COVID-19. They spoke during a remote news conference from the Capitol on Thursday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico recorded three more virus deaths and 126 new infections Friday – both a little below the recent averages – as health officials prepare to relax some restrictions this weekend.

The statewide death toll now stands at 767 residents.

The fatalities announced Friday include a woman in her 30s from Otero County, and older men from Bernalillo and Quay counties. All three had an underlying health condition of some kind, a COVID-19 risk factor.

Starting Saturday, New Mexico’s new public health order will allow some indoor dining at restaurants and breweries for the first time since mid-July. They can provide dine-in services at 25% of capacity and outdoor seating at 75%.

Most museums can also reopen at partial capacity, and gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed, or twice as many as in the previous order.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart this week also announced that public schools can prepare for the return of kindergarten through fifth-grade students after Labor Day, if their district’s reentry plan is approved by the state and infections levels are low enough in their home counties.

The changes come as New Mexico meets most of its reopening criteria – a set of standards on testing capacity, the supply of medical equipment and other factors.

The 126 new infections reported Friday, for example, push the state’s seven-day rolling average down to 136, well below the state’s goal of 168 or fewer.

Bernalillo and Doña Ana counties led New Mexico with 22 new cases each. Chaves County in southeastern New Mexico was next, with 16 infections.

As a whole, the state meets six of its eight reopening criteria. The spread rate of the disease is slightly higher than the state’s goal and the state is taking longer to reach people who may have been exposed to the virus to ensure they quarantine themselves.

The new health order continues the state’s mask mandate – a requirement that individuals wear a mask or multi-layer cloth covering when in public settings, except when eating or drinking.

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