NM COVID-19 case growth con­tin­ues

Sev­eral more states listed as high-risk des­ti­na­tions

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - BY DAN BOYD JOUR­NAL CAPI­TOL BUREAU

SANTA FE — New Mex­ico has added sev­eral states to its list of “high-risk” des­ti­na­tions that fall un­der a 14-day travel quar­an­tine or­der, even as its own COVID-19 case count con­tin­ued a re­cent uptick.

Colorado was one of the three states moved to high risk Wed­nes­day by New Mex­ico of­fi­cials — along with Ore­gon and Rhode Is­land — due to its re­cent virus spread rate.

New Mex­ico’s north­ern neigh­bor had been among a list of low-risk states that were ex­empted from the manda­tory travel quar­an­tine un­der a re­vised or­der is­sued this month by Gov. Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham.

Michi­gan and Hawaii were re­moved from the state’s list on Wed­nes­day, mean­ing there are now 39 states — in­clud­ing all of New Mex­ico’s neigh­bors — that are cur­rently cov­ered by the state’s travel quar­an­tine or­der, which is up­dated weekly.

New Mex­ico has one of the na­tion’s strictest travel quar­an­tines, even in its re­vised form. But the man­date has not been strictly en­forced since first be­ing en­acted in March, as state of­fi­cials have said it’s in­tended to func­tion as more of a de­ter­rent.

There are some al­low­able ex­emp­tions to the or­der, in­clud­ing for in­di­vid­u­als who leave the state to ob­tain med­i­cal care and for res­i­dents who travel out­side New Mex­ico for less than 24 hours due to parental re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

An­other ex­emp­tion al­lows any­one who tests neg­a­tive for COVID-19 shortly be­fore or af­ter ar­riv­ing in New Mex­ico to not have to com­ply with the quar­an­tine man­date.

Mean­while, state health of­fi­cials an­nounced on Wed­nes­day the state’s high­est num­ber of new coro­n­avirus cases in nearly a month, with el­e­vated case counts in sev­eral south­ern New Mex­ico coun­ties driv­ing the in­crease.

The 200 new con­firmed COVID-19 cases are the state’s high­est sin­gle-day fig­ure since Aug. 26, and raised the state’s seven-day rolling av­er­age of new cases to 135, ac­cord­ing to a Jour­nal anal­y­sis.

That’s still sig­nif­i­cantly lower than the state’s av­er­age case growth dur­ing most of July and Au­gust, but it marks the largest num­ber so far this month.

Top state epi­demi­ol­o­gists said this week they’re track­ing whether the re­cent uptick in COVID-19 cases may be at­trib­ut­able to travel and so­cial gath­er­ings over La­bor Day week­end.

On Wed­nes­day, more than 20 new cases were re­ported in each Doña Ana, Ber­nalillo, Chaves and Eddy coun­ties, while 11 new cases were re­ported among in­mates at the Lea County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in Hobbs.

Mean­while, state health of­fi­cials also an­nounced three ad­di­tional deaths re­lated to COVID-19, bring­ing the state’s death toll to 857 since the pan­demic first hit New Mex­ico in mid-March.

The three new deaths were re­ported in Lea, McKin­ley and Doña Ana coun­ties. All in­volved in­di­vid­u­als in their 60s or 70s.

Most New Mex­i­cans who have died from the virus have been el­derly in­di­vid­u­als with un­der­ly­ing health con­di­tions like di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and lung dis­ease, though some younger res­i­dents have also died.

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