Doña Ana County passes 10,000 cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations soar in New Mexico
LAS CRUCES – On the first day of a new two-week shelter-in-place order across New Mexico, fatalities and hospitalizations from COVID-19 continued to soar.
In the southern hotspot of Doña Ana County, nearly 1 in 20 residents have contracted the disease. Total positive cases passed the 10,000 mark Monday, with 203 new cases reported. Out of 126,591 tests processed from the county, 10,015 (or 8%) have been positive. 3,210 of those cases have been designated as recovered, while 137 county residents have died.
That includes two deaths announced on Monday: One male in his 40s, another in his 80s, both of whom had been hospitalized and described as having underlying medical conditions that can exacerbate the impact of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 disease.
The Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility, west of Las Cruces, reported its 138th case among people in state custody there. Among institutions holding inmates for the New Mexico Corrections Department, it has seen the third highest number of cases among its inmates, following the Otero County Prison Facility (which has seen 472, in addition to 419 cases among federal inmates) and the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas, where there have been 184.
Statewide, New Mexico reported 1,259 new cases and 21 new deaths Monday. This brought New Mexico's totals to 65,454 since the first cases were announced on March 11, along with 65,454 fatalities and 25,411 cases believed to have recovered.
The majority of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 reportedly experience mild to moderate symptoms, many similar to flu, but can lead to serious complications and death. Additionally, the coronavirus can be spread by people who show no symptoms and may not know they have it.
Leap in COVID-19 hospitalizations
Reported hospitalizations also surged as the state Department of Health changed its methodology in reporting data on COVID-19 patients.
Whereas the DOH previously gathered hospitalization data through case investigation and contact tracing, on Monday the agency said "the ongoing surge in cases has made timely individual contact more difficult and less reliable and, as a result, hospitalization data may be incomplete."
On the first day the agency began reporting from data received directly from hospitals, it stated that 738 individuals were hospitalized in New Mexico as of Monday.
For weeks, leaders of hospital systems in New Mexico have been issuing public warnings that the state's general and ICU beds are rapidly filling up and exceeding the availability of medical staff.
Hospital officers, state medical officials and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have all urged residents to refrain from social gatherings, including Thanksgiving festivities, with people outside of their households.
On Friday, the governor announced a two-week partial shutdown of non-essential businesses and a general shelter-in-place order in an effort to slow down community spread and help hospitals avoid catastrophe. The order is in effect through Nov. 30.