NM sets new COVID-19 case record - Albuquerque Journal

NM sets new COVID-19 case record

Staff perform a COVID-19 screening in Albuquerque. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – For the second day in a row, New Mexico blasted through its previous COVID-19 record, setting a new high in daily infections with 1,753 cases.

The state is now averaging almost 1,400 cases a day over the past week – doubling the average case total in just 19 days.

New Mexico also reported 18 more coronavirus deaths Thursday, making it the second-deadliest day of the pandemic so far. The death toll now stands at 1,176.

A forecast by Los Alamos National Laboratory estimates the state will reach 2,700 coronavirus deaths by Dec. 23.

The fatalities reported Thursday included adults ranging in age from their 40s to their 90s, continuing the disease’s disproportionate toll on older people. Four of the dead were from Bernalillo County, and six were from Doña Ana County.

“New Mexico has never been in a bigger crisis,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted Thursday.

She has called a news conference for Friday afternoon, when she’s expected to announce changes to New Mexico’s public health order.

The governor has suggested she may tighten the restrictions – which, as they stand now, ban gatherings of more than five people at a time, with some exceptions; direct most businesses to close at 10 p.m.; and limit indoor dining at restaurants and breweries to partial capacity.

The order also requires the closure of businesses with four or more cases of COVID-19 in the workplace within two weeks. Masks are required in public settings.

The Lujan Grisham administration is almost certain to make changes Friday because the order is set to expire at the end of the day. It can be extended or revised.

New Mexico’s spike in cases comes as the virus surges throughout the country.

The 1,753 new cases reported Thursday are not just a record for the state, but also 18% higher than the previous record, set Wednesday.

The number of coronavirus patients in New Mexico hospitals stands at 471 – the second-highest total during the pandemic and twice as many as were hospitalized just three weeks ago.

Lujan Grisham and medical leaders at the state’s hospitals have pleaded with New Mexicans in recent weeks to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“Stay home. Don’t make non-essential trips outside the home. Don’t gather with those from outside your household,” the governor tweeted Thursday. “Please, do your part to protect yourself and your loved ones, and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

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