The New Mexico Department of Health reported 401 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, the most infections the state has seen in a single day in five months.
It was the latest sign that the rapidly spreading delta variant appears to have taken hold in New Mexico.
“Our cases have quadrupled in a few short weeks because [of] the delta variant,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday at a news conference. “That is a very troubling statistic.”
The governor said she will do “whatever it takes again” to keep New Mexicans safe, including students in school.
“I don’t expect that New Mexico is going to have to limit access to any business or services,” she said. “That is our goal. That is my belief that we won’t be there. That’s why the vaccination rates are so critical to continue moving up even as good as we are. We have to be faster at getting it done.”
On Thursday, Lujan Grisham signed an executive order requiring state workers to get vaccinated. Those who aren’t inoculated will have to take a coronavirus test at least once every two weeks.
To spur more vaccinations, the state will offer a $100 incentive to anyone who receives a dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine in August. The cash incentive kicks off Monday.
The state also announced four more residents had won $250,000 apiece by getting vaccinated in the Vax 2 the Max sweepstakes. The winners were Trinnie Martinez of Española, Roslyn Pursley of Albuquerque, Rita Plattor of Artesia and Cheri Hamilton of Las Cruces.
Bernalillo County had the most infections Thursday with 96, followed by San Juan County with 51, Eddy County with 45, Lea County with 30, Sandoval County with 28, Doña Ana County with 25 and Chaves County with 23.
In Northern New Mexico, Santa Fe County added 12 cases, Rio Arriba County reported five and Los Alamos County had one.
Thursday’s case count was the state’s largest since Feb. 26, when it reported 659 additional infections. New Mexico’s cumulative total now stands at 210,085 cases.
The state also reported a Bernalillo County man in his 80s died of COVID-19, bringing the statewide toll to 4,408.
Hospitalizations rose as well, from 133 on Wednesday to 140 on Thursday, the state said.