New Mexico and Santa Fe County both have shattered daily COVID-19 new-case records that had stood since November 2020, before vaccines were available.

As of Friday, the county had 393 new cases, according to the state Department of Health; its previous daily high was 266. The state had 4,246 new cases, up from a previous daily high of 3,675. Both marks were set Nov. 19, 2020. Seven other counties also reported 100 or more new cases Friday.

The state also recorded 14 additional deaths. Among them was a Santa Fe County woman in her 80s who had been hospitalized.

The daily count, likely the result of the highly contagious omicron variant spreading through the state, pushed New Mexico’s total caseload since the start of the pandemic to nearly 370,000 — with more than 21,000 new cases in an eight-day stretch — and the death toll close to 6,000.

The Health Department renewed its COVID-19 public health orders, continuing the state’s indoor-masking rules and vaccination requirements for some employees. Among the changes are reducing the isolation and quarantine peirod for those who test positive to five days from 10, reflecting updated federal guidelines.

Health officials also updated booster shot recommendations, with kids ages 12 to 15 approved for the third Pfizer vaccination and a decreased time span between the second and third dose for people 12 and over to five months from six months. “Children ages 5 to 11 who are immune compromised should receive a booster dose 28 days after completion of the primary series,” the Health Department said in a news release.

New Mexico remains one of the most heavily vaccinated states in the nation, though many residents still have not received the shots. Health Department data shows 76 percent of adults completed the initial series and 36.6 percent have had the booster, while 57.5 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 and just 18.5 percent of children ages 5 to 11 have had the initial series of shots. Children younger than 5 are still not eligible for doses.

Some schools and preschools announced they were closing or shifting temporarily to remote learning to prevent the spread of the virus among children.

The Food Depot also will be closed to the public effective Monday amid the high case numbers, the Santa Fe-based food bank said in a news release. Food distributions in the food bank’s nine-county service area will continue as scheduled, the release said.



New Mexico’s seven-day positivity rate — the percentage of people who test positive for the virus out of the overall number of people who have been tested — reached 23.2 percent. When the Health Department released its final update of 2020, on Dec. 30, the rate was 13.8 percent.

The counties with the highest numbers of new cases were Bernalillo, with 1,287; Doña Ana, 711; Sandoval, 296; San Juan, 243; Lea, 154; McKinley, 202; and Rio Arriba, 118.

The other newly reported deaths included eight people in Bernalillo County; and one each in Cibola, Curry, Doña Ana, Eddy and Valencia counties.

The number of New Mexico residents who have died from coronavirus complications is now 5,983, while the state’s total number of cases during the pandemic reached 369,113.

As of Friday, 539 people were hospitalized statewide for treatment of COVID-19.

According to the New York Times, Santa Fe County is averaging 170 new cases a day, a number that equals 113 cases per 100,000 residents. In early December, the county was averaging about 50 cases a day, according to the Times.

Bernalillo County was averaging 716 cases a day as of Friday, although its per-100,000 number was lower than Santa Fe County’s, at 105.

For further comparison, on Friday’s date one year ago, New Mexico recorded 1,841 new coronavirus cases and 39 more deaths, while Santa Fe County recorded 131 new cases and one additional death. Bernalillo County had 449 deaths, less than half Friday’s total. The state had 2,680 deaths; it’s set to surpass 6,000 on Monday.

(28) comments

Alexander Brown

Looking at local New Year's Eve Parties, photos and videos on fB, we see large parties in commercial establishments with all maskless. (Mineshaft) Private parties much the same. Friends say Santa Fe Ski Basin Lift lines packed like sardines are also almost all maskless.

Apologies to all Santa Fe's Front Line Health Care workers this ton of dumb bricks drops on you. Who should be getting Hazard level Pay, thank you, instead of vaccine companies making all the enormous profits.

Cleve Spence

The good news if you are vaccinated you not going to end up in a hospital or looking at death!

James Patrick

I spent Christmas in Florida and am going to Idaho for MLK Day Weekend. I would encourage you to get out and see parts of the country where people are not living lives of fear and fealty. Of course, many of you would absolutely hate that - seeing the strength of others would only remind you of your own weakness. But for some of you it would be eye-opening to realize ‘Wait, I don’t have to cower in fear of a virus with a tiny death rate? There are places where people are actually getting on with their lives?’

Margaret Eyler

Here here! It’s laughable when we come home to this town and see how scared everyone is😭🤣

Jim Montevallo

Would you laugh at my close friend of forty years who died painfully and awfully from Covid 19? No underlying conditions. In the prime of his life?

Paul DeDomenico

Here, here x 2.

Jim Montevallo

Love that you say "tiny" death rate. Proof you lead with agenda and not fact in addition to blowhard baloney about "strength." Appreciate the laugh. Florida sure is a model of leadership and intelligence. Idaho for MLK Day, bet they do it up right.

Feel free to leave anytime.

Andy Blanco

Hmm, who’s the blowhard with the agenda?

You might not be aware of the fact that Florida and New Mexico have virtually identical death rates. Florida has the second oldest population in the country, New Mexico’s population is average with respect to age. Florida also has one of the strongest economies and education systems - let’s just say New Mexico doesn’t. No student in Florida lost the right to go school, and no person in Florida lost the right to earn a living.

I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that I’m on my way out to a free state. I’ll be taking my tax dollars and my wife, a public school teacher, with me.

By the way, most of us at this point have a friend who died from Covid. It doesn’t provide moral superiority and your emotion doesn’t substitute for facts and logic.

Pam Walker

There are more than you might know that would love to go with you.

Pam Walker

Love this. Thank you for posting.

Danielle Irving

I am grateful for protection for me, my family during these most difficult, unbelievable conditions of so many people. Who knew anti me and my( 2 ) 6 year olds and 8 month old was immune when we had it in October of 2019 before it had really spread to the states, three weeks of high fever, no doctor visits , motherly instincts and a spoon of love I suppose and we were fully recovered by 2nd week of December in time to celebrate my bornday. I send love, healing and peace to those affected.💞

Carl Friedrichs

As a family doctor, caring for many COVID patients, don't be fooled by snarky comments from the peanut gallery on the effectiveness of masks and vaccines. 2 recent folks come to mind. One was vaccinated and boosted. He has breakthrough COVID and is working from home with mild cold like symptoms. He will be back to work at the end of his 10 day quarantine. Another was unvaccinated. He has been sick for 5 weeks,, on oxygen and has run up about $25,000 in hospital, ER and medication bills, enough for a hefty down payment on a fast car. He spent several days in the hospital. His partner was worried sick about him. I was worried he might not make it. What we are seeing in the hospital: unvaccinated people on ventilators, a full hospital, and no room for other illnesses. Health care providers are getting burned out and leaving the professions. Get your vaccines and boosters and wear your masks.

Mike Johnson

I totally agree on getting vaccinated and boosted, read my reply below, but this kind of press coverage, missing key data points for context and meant to shock and instill fear in the public, is not a good advertisement for same. When cases are "skyrocketing" and hospitalization are rising, as are deaths, to levels not seen since before we had any vaccines and with no accompanying context, people are rightfully afraid and worry about efficacy of all these measures, do you blame them? BTW, my daughter is a pediatric RN in NYC, and having caught COVID in early March, 2020, recovered in a few weeks, back to work where her immunity was useful, and now all the never ending panics and surges later, she has quit. She found out she can get paid the same for giving shots at CVS as what she was making in that inner city hospital, so why continue it?

Diane Rolnick

Please listen to Dr. Friedrichs! Our healthcare providers are warn out and doing the best job they can.

rodney carswell

Thanks for your direct, first-hand testimony here.

Andy Blanco

Nothing in your comment leads to the conclusion that masks prevent infection by omicron.

Mike Johnson

Wow! I guess those vaccines and masks are really working well......

Spencer Ralston

Yes, Mike, they are. 88% of the deaths are from the unvaccinated, as are about 80% of the hospitalizations. My conclusion: Don’t get vaccinated - you are more likely to die. I prefer being vaccinated knowing that if I do get COVID-19, my symptoms will be relatively mild and I’ll live.

Mike Johnson

Now you see, wouldn't that kind of data add much needed context to this kind of "if it bleeds it leads" kind of press? If the DOH and/or the press had this information to report when they shove out these shocking numbers, it would give people a better impression, but no, they seem to want to instill fear and panic in the public. I agree with your conclusions, I have 3 Fauci-ouchies, as does all my family, but we get the impression we are still engrave danger of death from these constant panic attacks.....

luke pf

the DOH releases the case/hospitalization/death numbers broken out by vaccination status every week. they put them on the DOH Newsroom and cover them during the weekly briefing.

Mike Johnson

luke pf, if that is true then why do they never report it in any newspaper daily report? Or the press releases DOH puts out daily? Why do they hide it?

luke pf

I don’t know why they don’t report them daily, but how much extra signal would you really get? It isn’t a great idea to base decisions off of daily totals (high variability!)

Here’s where you can find the weekly reports: https://cv.nmhealth.org/epidemiology-reports/ In particular, look at the “vaccination report”.

This stuff isn’t hidden. It’s not hard to find.

Mike Johnson

luke pf, you are not understanding the issue. Most people get their info from daily TV, radio, and newspaper reports, like this one, that never includes vital context like the % of hospitalization and deaths currently that are from unvaccinated vs. vaccinate people. Hardly anyone goes looking online on the confusing and hard to use NDOH website to dig down and find this, and even fewer listen to any weekly Zoom things from these boring bureaucrats. What would be the problem with prefacing all daily reports by any press media or releases with saying "X number of people are hospitalized, and Y % of them are unvaccinated", and the same with deaths. It is just elementary communications skills our government is apparently lacking or they just don't care if people get scared for no reason. Maybe they want everyone terrified and afraid to go anywhere?

Margaret Eyler

Highly unlikely you’re going to die from Omicron if you’re unvaxxed. But hey, that’s just the science.

Jim Montevallo

Sure, just weeks of misery, quite possibly hospitalization as we see everywhere, and then there's all the pathologies of long Covid, but hey let's pretend we even understand that.

Carmela Baca

I hope you don't get COVID. But if you do, please stay home and deal with it. Keep the hospital open for someone who was vaccinated/boosted or for others with other illnesses that believe and need medical care. Medical professionals are exhausted and leaving the profession. There is a vaccine. There is no excuse.

Jim Montevallo

Wow! I guess you haven't read a sentence of science!

Pam Walker

My thoughts exactly.

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