The beyond-nightmarish COVID-19 numbers Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state medical officials had warned about for weeks may be coming to fruition.

New Mexico experienced another coronavirus explosion Tuesday, setting a new high in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The state reported 2,112 virus cases, 28 deaths and 754 COVID-19 hospitalizations within a health care system officials have said is stretched to the breaking point.

Among the deaths was a preteen Bernalillo County boy and a Santa Fe County woman in her 80s. New Mexico’s previous high in deaths was set just a few days before, Friday, with 22.

Its previous high for cases in a single day was 1,752 on Thursday.

The state this week unveiled a new way to count hospitalizations, with Monday’s count at 738. Tuesday’s number was higher by 16.

Officials for the state’s largest medical systems have warned for the past several weeks that uncontrolled spread could mean disaster for hospitals and the people who work in them, in part because the neighboring states of Texas, Arizona and Colorado also are dealing with serious outbreaks — limiting the ability to transfer patients from crowded New Mexico hospitals.

During a Monday news conference, executives at some of the state’s largest health systems lauded a willingness to work together to help patients, but they noted the picture looked bleak if cases counts did not start to fall.

“There’s been … tremendous collaboration between the three systems to create capacity, and we’re in contact with each other every day to know where that capacity exists within these systems,” said Rohini McKee of UNM Health. “But hospitals across the state still “have have a huge problem with staffing.”

McKee also noted University of New Mexico Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare Services have accepted a “large number of traveling nurses.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham instituted a two-week “reset” on restrictive health orders in hopes of bringing the numbers down, but Tuesday’s totals were a stark reminder of how widespread the virus has become in the state.



“This is exactly the reason the state had to ‘reset’ with the newest public health order that went into effect on Monday,” Department of Health spokeswoman Marisa Maez wrote in an email. “We hope to see a decrease in the number of cases eventually, but this will take time to reflect in our daily COVID counts.”

Lujan Grisham was more direct, taking to Facebook and Twitter to implore New Mexicans to heed the state’s health order.

“I will say it again: This is an emergency. Shelter in place,” Lujan Grisham wrote. “The virus is everywhere. Don’t go out. Don’t go shopping. Don’t take extra errands. Don’t go see friends. Don’t infect your loved ones. Don’t end up in a hospital.”

Overall, the state has reported 67,559 cases and 1,264 deaths since March.

Santa Fe County also set a new high for cases with 141, eight more than Nov. 12. Bernalillo County reported 615, while Doña Ana County had 338.

Overall, five counties had case counts of more than 100, while Lea County had 97 and Valencia County recorded 87.

Eight prisons reported at least one case, with four coming from the Penitentiary of New Mexico near Santa Fe, and the death of an inmate in his 70s from the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County.

Two deaths of the state’s 28 deaths involved patients in long-term care facilities, which brought the number in that category to 362.

Brookdale Santa Fe reported four new patient cases to increase its total to nine, along with 10 staff members. There are now 2,082 coronavirus cases involving long-term care patients, and 1,700 employees.

On Nov. 9, those figures stood at 1,732 patients and 1,399 staff members.

In its daily report, the Department of Health said 106 facilities had reported at least one virus case among residents or staff in the previous 28 days.

(25) comments

Robert Bradway

All you commenters... LOL, Honestly!

We live in a culture of our own individual measure.

“Oh no I’m sick...but I have to go to work anyway, else I jeopardize my job.” Said mostly everyone from the beginning of their working career. (until now?)

“I’m a really good driver! I’ve never worn a seatbelt and no law can make me!” Or... “I wear it like this ‘cause it’s uncomfortable.”

“I’m gonna wear or not wear a mask how I want..anyways they do nothing..plus spittle only comes out your mouth not your nose.”

And so many others from the beginning of time...if you can imagine, rinse and repeat.

How many pandemics you all been through?

Oh none? Geez.

Well, we are all challenged and saturated.

The truth is the same for us all: This is awful and we don’t like it. (Understated)

Forking brace yourselves and read some history.

Come the end, all we have is what is in a hands reach.

Be kind and love each other.

Donato Velasco

so how many people die each year in new mexico on average from all types of incidents ..???

Mike Johnson

The latest numbers I have seen from the CDC, since NMhealth never reports it in a timely manner, is about 54 people a day on average from all causes.

Mike Johnson

NM has been the most locked down state since the pandemic began, and still is. And yet we have had just as many cases and deaths per capita, and seeing the same surges over the last few weeks as states with far fewer restrictions on businesses and people's lives. What are we doing wrong? The lockdowns have prevented nothing.

David Martinez

Not wearing masks, or wearing them properly?

Mike Johnson

Maybe, show me the clinical trials that show the % efficacy of various masks, like gaitors, bandanas, cloth mask from T-shirts, 3 layer tight cotton weave with inserts, surgical, and N95. And why there are no mask standards based on the science. If that is the problem, then every state in the union has it, and lockdowns closing non-essential businesses , % occupancy limits, curfews, etc. is not making a difference.

Khal Spencer

Here is a Nature article, Mike (and others), for what its worth.

Efficacy of masks and face coverings in controlling outward aerosol particle emission from expiratory activities

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-72798-7

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge in demand for facemasks to protect against disease transmission. In response to shortages, many public health authorities have recommended homemade masks as acceptable alternatives to surgical masks and N95 respirators. Although mask wearing is intended, in part, to protect others from exhaled, virus-containing particles, few studies have examined particle emission by mask-wearers into the surrounding air. Here, we measured outward emissions of micron-scale aerosol particles by healthy humans performing various expiratory activities while wearing different types of medical-grade or homemade masks. Both surgical masks and unvented KN95 respirators, even without fit-testing, reduce the outward particle emission rates by 90% and 74% on average during speaking and coughing, respectively, compared to wearing no mask, corroborating their effectiveness at reducing outward emission. These masks similarly decreased the outward particle emission of a coughing superemitter, who for unclear reasons emitted up to two orders of magnitude more expiratory particles via coughing than average. In contrast, shedding of non-expiratory micron-scale particulates from friable cellulosic fibers in homemade cotton-fabric masks confounded explicit determination of their efficacy at reducing expiratory particle emission. Audio analysis of the speech and coughing intensity confirmed that people speak more loudly, but do not cough more loudly, when wearing a mask. Further work is needed to establish the efficacy of cloth masks at blocking expiratory particles for speech and coughing at varied intensity and to assess whether virus-contaminated fabrics can generate aerosolized fomites, but the results strongly corroborate the efficacy of medical-grade masks and highlight the importance of regular washing of homemade masks.

Khal Spencer

More from Nature: "...Here, we report on experiments assessing the efficacy of unvented KN95 respirators, vented N95 respirators, surgical masks, and homemade paper and cloth masks at reducing aerosol particle emission rates from breathing, speaking, and coughing by healthy individuals. Two key findings are that (i) the surgical masks, unvented KN95 respirators, and, likely, vented N95 respirators all substantially reduce the number of emitted particles, but that (ii) particle emission from homemade cloth masks—likely from shed fiber fragments—can substantially exceed emission when no mask is worn, a result that confounds assessment of their efficacy at blocking expiratory particle emission. Although no direct measurements of virus emission or infectivity were performed here, the results raise the possibility that shed fiber particulates from contaminated cotton masks might serve as sources of aerosolized fomites...."

Mike Johnson

Thanks Khal, as I thought, there is no research on the % efficacy of anything not used in a clinical setting. My theory is that since most all people who wear masks are wearing ones with I presume very low efficacy, below 30%, and they assume they are being protected, they are laboring under a false sense of security and may well ignore distancing rules and time exposure rules in crowded settings. This leads to more spread, I think. The AAPS website has this from their recommendations and research: "HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are 99.97 to 100% efficient. HEPA filters are tested with particles that are 0.125 μm (the size of SARS-CoV-2).

Masks and respirators work by collecting particles through several physical mechanisms, including diffusion (small particles) and interception and impaction (large particles).

Surgical masks are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids. They aren’t effective at blocking particles smaller than 100 μm." https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article/54/7/789/202744; https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/commentary-masks-all-covid-19-not-based-sound-data; https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article/54/7/789/202744

Filter efficiency was measured across a wide range of small particle sizes (0.02 to 1 µm) at 33 and 99 L/min.

All the cloth masks and materials had near zero efficiency at 0.3 µm, a particle size that easily penetrates into the lung (SARS-CoV-2 is 0.125 µm)

Efficiency for the entire range of particles

T-shirts — 10%

Scarves — 10% to 20%

Cloth masks — 10% to 30%

Sweatshirts — 20% to 40%

Towels — 40%"

Khal Spencer

I agree with your idea about folks getting a false sense of security. The home made masks are of variable quality, they may or may not be fitted correctly since there is no training on how to wear a mask, and even if one is wearing one properly when sedentary, as the Nature article shows and I can attest from fifteen years of high quality respirator training that was required for my job, they can leak when exercising, talking, hollering, chewing gum, or doing other activities such as screaming and pulling down an obelisk or shouting at a Trump rally while bending over to pick up the 15 rd clip you dropped.

Few, if any of us make our own auto engine air intake filters. We buy them from a reputable company that quality tests their efficiency at stopping particles of a given size range and even then, some stuff gets through. We don't do that with masks. Maybe FRAM, K&N, Purolator, AC Delco, et al should start making standardized Covid mask filters with properly adjustable tight fitting facepieces to go with them. Even with immunization shots in development, this Bug will be with us for a while and I don't think the economy will sustain itself much longer in near total shutdown.

rodney carswell

Maybe, show me the evidence the "lockdowns have prevented nothing."

Mike Johnson

Maybe you look at NM over the six weeks, our lockdowns and restrictions were much more strict than Texas and Arizona for instance, and we have had much worse results. The data doesn't lie, politicians do.

Amy Earle

No question Trump, his boot licking red state governors, and the deluded people who have bought into the lies and misinformation have a large role to play in this nightmare the entire country is now facing. The only thing we can do now is listen to the real doctors and scientists, follow public health guidelines, and for the love of God forget the Thanksgiving gatherings please. We can handle yet another big spike in cases afterwards because people just wouldn’t let it go.

Robert Bartlett

No.

Lee DiFiore

This article seems to be about a huge spike in cases in NM which does not have a "boot licking red state governor". We do have an idiotic blue state governor with policies that have done nothing to stem the tide of the virus but have been devastating to NM businesses, workers and the state economy as a whole.

Bonnie Cox

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Patricia Kennedy

At this point, I wonder how many are the seasonal flu. Of course hospitals make more $$ if they declare it Covid-19

David Ford

Sorry but that is nonsense, please get your "facts" right. Another attempt to make this virus a political issue and help more people put themselves in danger with the whole "hoax" narrative. You also insult all front-line medical professionals which have to live with this "hoax" everyday as we "round the corner" (Dr. Drumpf's words) towards 250K deaths.

The actual Flu Season is from December to April sometimes through May which is why most REAL Dr.'s suggest mid-November to get a flu shot.

The only ones to blame are the science deniers, and those mask deniers or freedom lovin' 'mericans, party throwers etc., etc.

Wait for it, wait for it.....

John Cook

You are exactly right, David Ford. The deniers and Trump goofs have brought this on all of us. Perhaps after a vaccine arrives we will all take it and they all won't.

Amy Earle

You don’t need to wonder. There are tests for flu and Covid. Where you have gotten the idea that hospitals are maniacally trying to pretend Covid cases are really flu is beyond me. It is an insult to the nurses, doctors, and hospitals working to the point of exhaustion to save lives. It’s is time to deprogram from the false information you are clearly filling your mind with.

Janet Lucks

What an incredibly insensitive ignorant statement you better hope your local hospitals are financially secure!

Mike Johnson

It would help if the NM Health Dept. would publish, and keep up to date in real time, the data for flu cases, COVID cases (including when the tests were taken and what kind of tests they were), and all deaths by direct causes and contributing causes. They keep us in the dark, and frequently change metrics and procedures so as to not allow us to understand what is going on, and forcing to take the vague, imprecise word of politicians with an agenda. The latest change in how they count hospitalizations added over 250 COVID patients overnight, and rendered all the previous data unusable for the public to gauge the situation. Very unscientific and amateurish, typical NM incompetence.

Khal Spencer

Holy S---

Janet Lucks

My heart breaks for all suffering.... Please Santa Fe and New Mexico help any way you can...and Bless you for doing so....be kind to all and help stop this virus from spreading....we all must do better....

Angel Ortiz

Amen.[thumbup]

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