New COVID-19 cases continue decline in New Mexico

Mike Stucka

New Mexico reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 7,480 new cases. That's down 23.4% from the previous week's toll of 9,763 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

New Mexico ranked No. 31 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 1,523,301 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -11.1% from the week before. Across the country, 9 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across New Mexico, cases fell in 27 counties, with the best declines in Bernalillo, San Juan and Lea counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

The share of New Mexico test results that came back positive was 11.7% in the latest week, compared with 11.2% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 63,943 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 87,407. 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 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.

A syringe containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is seen on Dec. 31, 2020 at Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup.

Within New Mexico, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Rio Arriba, Luna and Eddy ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Bernalillo County, with 1,907 cases; Doña Ana County, with 960 cases; and San Juan County, with 644. Weekly case counts rose in four counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Luna, Lincoln and San Miguel counties.

In New Mexico, 183 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 198 people were reported dead.

A total of 163,637 people in New Mexico have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 2,932 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 23,933,368 people have tested positive and 397,574 people have died.