New COVID-19 case totals dropping in New Mexico; infection rates fall in 24 counties

Mike Stucka

FARMINGTON — New Mexico reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 3,015 new cases. That's down 13.7% from the previous week's toll of 3,492 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

New Mexico ranked No. 33 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 632,914 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -22.9% from the week before. Across the country, 3 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

In New Mexico, 130 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 116 people were reported dead.

More: Young COVID-19 survivor wins hearts at New Mexico hospital

Covid-19 Moderna vaccines in syringes on a cart at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, N.J. on Friday Feb. 12, 2021.

A total of 180,571 people in New Mexico have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 3,529 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 27,640,282 people have tested positive and 485,336 people have died.

Across New Mexico, cases fell in 24 counties, with the best declines in Santa Fe, Lea and McKinley counties.

More: See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

The share of New Mexico test results that came back positive was 2.7% in the latest week, compared with 4% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows.

In the latest week, 113,018 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 86,872. 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.

Within New Mexico, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Chaves, Grant and Dona Ana ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Bernalillo County, with 942 cases; Dona Ana County, with 460 cases; and Sandoval County, with 217. Weekly case counts rose in eight counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Chaves, San Miguel and Curry counties.

More: COVID-19 Hospital Capacity in San Juan County and Surrounding Area