New COVID-19 case numbers still dropping in New Mexico

Mike Stucka

FARMINGTON — New Mexico reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 4,859 new cases. That's down 12.7% from the previous week's toll of 5,568 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

In New Mexico, 138 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 213 people were reported dead.

New Mexico ranked No. 30 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 1,038,890 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -12.4% from the week before. Across the country, 5 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 Dona Ana, San Juan and Luna counties.

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The share of New Mexico test results that came back positive was 4.9% in the latest week, compared with 6.4% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 98,347 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 87,590. 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.

Drivers check in with a volunteer before receiving a COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 30, 2021, during a drive-thru clinic at McGee Park outside Farmington.

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 Luna, McKinley and Eddy ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Bernalillo County, with 1,497 cases; Dona Ana County, with 558 cases; and San Juan County, with 353. Weekly case counts rose in eight counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Bernalillo, Lea and Guadalupe counties.

A total of 174,064 people in New Mexico have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 3,283 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 26,186,781 people have tested positive and 441,324 people have died.