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New Mexico sees record number of coronavirus cases for third day in a row

The New Mexican

For the third straight day, New Mexico smashed its record for new cases of the novel coronavirus, with 819 infections reported Friday.

The state also recorded six more deaths, including a teenage girl from Eddy County who became the state’s youngest COVID-related fatality, Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office, confirmed.

“The COVID-19 wildfire is raging statewide,” Sackett said. “The virus spreads when people give it the opportunity to spread and New Mexicans are doing just that.”

Five of New Mexico’s six highest daily totals have come in October, but the numbers have been especially bad this week. Friday’s tally was 147 more than the previous record — 672 — recorded just one day before. That was on top of a then-record total of 577 on Wednesday. The numbers have surpassed anything the state has seen since the pandemic began in the spring.

On Friday, 168 people in New Mexico were hospitalized for the disease, 18 more than on Thursday.

If the state sees 900 cases each day for several consecutive days, its intensive care beds will be full in three to four weeks, according to projections from the state Medical Advisory Team.

If the state sees several consecutive days of 1,110 cases, its ICU beds will be full in one to two weeks, the advisory team predicted.

As of Friday, 82 percent of the state’s general adult hospital beds were occupied and 76 percent of its adult ICU beds were filled, according to a survey of hospital capacity conducted by the state Department of Health.

The survey included everyone who was hospitalized, not just COVID-19 patients. Health officials have reported higher rates of transmission in every part of New Mexico.

Santa Fe County added 39 cases Friday, two short of its single-day record set Tuesday.

According to the state, at least one of the new infections was reported at El Castillo, a retirement community on East Alameda Street in Santa Fe. Officials at El Castillo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bernalillo County recorded 178 infections, Doña Ana County had 146, Curry County had 76, Lea County had 54 and Sandoval County had 42, according to the state Department of Health.

Another 31 cases were detected at the Otero County Prison Facility, and 20 new infections were reported at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County. The Lea County Correctional Facility had one new case. The number of confirmed cases statewide increased to 35,770.

“Yes, there were some cases in state and federal correctional facilities today,” Sackett said. “But when the spread is this fast, this quick, there’s no one specific location or outbreak that you can pinpoint or blame — it’s all of New Mexico.”

In addition to the teenager from Eddy County, the state reported fatalities in Bernalillo, Chaves, Roosevelt, San Juan and Socorro counties. There have been 928 confirmed deaths statewide.

The state said 19,613 people had recovered from the illness.

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