Virus-related deaths reach 1,823 in NM - Albuquerque Journal

Virus-related deaths reach 1,823 in NM

In this file photo, refrigerated mobile morgues sit outside the Office of the Medical Investigator earlier this year. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico’s coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,823 Wednesday as the state remains on track to reach 2,000 fatalities later this month.

The state has reported an average of 28 virus-related deaths a day over the past week – just under the peak average of 30 deaths a day earlier this month, according to a Journal analysis.

The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported each day is now 1,714 – still high compared with previous months, but 36% below the peak from the week of Thanksgiving.

New Mexico reported two days’ worth of data Wednesday because an internet outage interrupted its reporting Tuesday.

State health officials said they would have reported 33 more deaths for Tuesday, in addition to the 34 reported Wednesday.

Older adults continue to make up a disproportionate share of the fatalities. Just nine of the 34 deaths reported Wednesday were people under 60. The youngest was in her 30s.

A forecast by Los Alamos National Laboratory estimates New Mexico will reach 2,000 coronavirus deaths by Dec. 21 under its “middle-case” scenario.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham urged New Mexicans to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, staying home and complying with public health orders.

“Our fellow New Mexicans continue to be taken from us by this terrible virus,” she tweeted. “These deaths are not just frightening numbers – they are our family members, our friends, our coworkers and our neighbors.”

Tuesday’s report – released Wednesday – said the state had 1,271 new daily cases. Wednesday’s report announced 1,759 new cases.

Among other data:

⋄ More than 900 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in New Mexico. The state reported 917 patients in hospitals Wednesday, the ninth day in a row with more than 900. The figure peaked at 947 last week.

⋄ The disease spread rate fell to 0.79 Sunday, the most recent day for which a figure is available, according to the state’s statistical modeling. It’s the lowest spread rate of the pandemic in New Mexico.

Any rate below 1.0 should put the state on track to have fewer new cases – because each person who has the disease is expected to spread it to fewer than one other person.

⋄ The share of tests that come back positive has held steady in recent days. The positivity rate stood at 13% for the seven days that ended Sunday, the most recent period for which the information is available.

It’s substantially lower than the 24% rate New Mexico hit on Nov. 24, but the percentage has hovered around 13% in recent days. The state’s reopening goal is a positivity rate of 5% or less.

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