Sandoval County, with its mix of Albuquerque-area bedroom communities, rural towns and pueblos, is quickly becoming a worrisome area for COVID-19.
The state Department of Health announced the state now has 624 cases, with 81 reported Sunday. Of those, 34 were in Sandoval County. That brings the county, which includes Rio Rancho, Bernalillo and a far-flung rural population that spans into the northern part of the state, to 103 confirmed positives.
It is now has the second-biggest caseload behind Bernalillo County with 246.
Santa Fe County added four more cases for a total of 62.
A Department of Human Services spokeswoman said she could not provide information on what accounted for the jump in Sandoval County and whether it is concentrated in Sandoval’s more populated regions, Rio Rancho and Bernalillo.
The state reported a 12th death from the respiratory disease, a McKinley County man in his 40s. According to a news release, the man had underlying medical conditions.
This week could be critical in the Gallup and Farmington areas: State officials have predicted a surge of cases in the northwest part of the state, which includes McKinley and San Juan counties. Together, those counties have reported nearly 100 cases.
Bernalillo County added 21 new cases, including one resident and two staff members at La Vida Llena assisted living facility who tested positive Sunday. The state’s most populous county has nearly 40 percent of all the cases at 246 recorded positives.
There are 45 people hospitalized from COVID-19. The Department of Health said 130 people have recovered.
Meanwhile, after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham implored New Mexico residents to adhere to a stay-at-home order as a way to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, Santa Fe police said officers are responding to more calls about social-distancing violations.
Santa Fe Police Department Lt. Brian Rodriguez said that while he didn’t have statistics at hand, police are getting more complaints about people gathering in violation of the order.
“As [a] swing shift lieutenant, I can say we’ve had a lot of people calling about social distancing at parks and stores,” he said Sunday.
He said the department does not issue citations, as that falls to the New Mexico State Police. Rodriguez said Santa Fe police determine the validity of a complaint and issue verbal warnings.
“We are responding to calls and counseling people,” Rodriguez said. “We’re informing them to please comply with the governor’s order.”
Mark Soriano, a spokesman for the state police, said the agency has yet to issue a citation for violating the order.