SANTA FE — New Mexico reported 341 new coronavirus cases Friday as infections reached their highest daily total since late July.
The state’s seven-day rolling average of cases now stands at 216 — or roughly 2.5 times as high as the average just 20 days ago, according to a Journal analysis.
Health officials also reported five more deaths, growing the total to 887 fatalities since March. The new victims ranged in age from their 60s to their 90s, and all had an underlying condition of some kind, a risk factor for the disease.
Common underlying conditions include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
The 341 cases reported Friday are the most in a single day since July 29.
The increase was fueled, in part, by 99 new infections in Bernalillo County, the state’s most populous area. Doña Ana County in southern New Mexico was next with 45 cases, followed by Chaves County in the southeastern part of the state at 32 cases.
The number of patients hospitalized in New Mexico also inched upward, to 89, or three more than Thursday.
The hospitalizations include out-of-state residents cared for in New Mexico but don’t factor in New Mexicans who are in hospitals outside the state.
Human Services Secretary David Scrase said the state isn’t a net importer or exporter of patients because they two groups tend to cancel each other out.
The uptick in cases isn’t only a result of increased testing. The share of tests coming pack positive reached 3.4% over the last week, following a low of 1.9% at one point last month.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week urged New Mexicans to recommit to wearing masks, limiting travel outside the home and avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people.
“It is absolutely critical that New Mexicans take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state — lives and livelihoods depend on it,” she said in a Tweet on Friday.