Coronavirus cases fall in New Mexico last week

Mike Stucka
USA TODAY NETWORK

New Mexico reported 10,572 new cases of coronavirus in the week ending Saturday, down 8.1% in the previous week, when 11,502 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 had been reported. 

New Mexico ranked No. 16 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 1,512,372 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 1.3% from the week before. Across the country, 17 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across New Mexico, cases fell in 24 counties, with the best declines in Bernalillo, San Juan and Santa Fe counties.

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The share of New Mexico test results that came back positive was 10.2% in the latest week, compared with 13.7% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 104,060 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 84,192. Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The box containing 975 doses of the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is placed in an ultra-cold freezer inside San Juan Regional Medical Center in this photo released on Dec. 15. Caregivers will receive the first vaccinations.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Within New Mexico, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Roosevelt, McKinley and Guadalupe counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Bernalillo County, with 3,296 cases; San Juan County, with 885 cases; and Dona Ana County, with 747. Weekly case counts rose in seven counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Roosevelt, Eddy and Grant counties.

In New Mexico, 242 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Saturday. In the week before that, 175 people were reported dead.

A total of 128,930 people in New Mexico have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 2,155 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 17,655,591 people have tested positive and 316,159 people have died.