New COVID-19 cases down 28.1% in New Mexico, death rate also drops

Mike Stucka

FARMINGTON — New Mexico reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 3,492 new cases. That's down 28.1% from the previous week's toll of 4,859 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 817,934 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -21.3% 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, 116 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 138 people were reported dead.

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A line stretched the length of the Health and Human Performance Center at San Juan College the morning of Feb. 4 as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic run by the New Mexico Department of Health was set to begin at 8 a.m.

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The share of New Mexico test results that came back positive was 4% in the latest week, compared with 4.9% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 86,872 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 98,347. 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 McKinley, Hidalgo and Luna ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Bernalillo County, with 1,013 cases; Dona Ana County, with 470 cases; and Sandoval County, with 255. Weekly case counts rose in seven counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Grant, Cibola and Roosevelt counties.