The New Mexico Department of Health reported 271 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday — the state’s largest one-day total in more than two months.
Infections have risen in every state over the past couple of weeks, fueled largely by the highly contagious delta variant.
Last week, New Mexico’s top health officials said the delta variant was becoming more prevalent in some parts of the state. But they weren’t yet alarmed because the total number of confirmed cases was only a few dozen.
Yet Wednesday’s case count suggests the variant is beginning to spread more rapidly in New Mexico. New infections nearly doubled from Tuesday, when the state reported 137 cases. And Wednesday’s statewide tally was the highest since May 7, when New Mexico reported 285 infections.
Nationwide, the delta variant has been linked to 83 percent of new infections, up from 50 percent earlier this month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In New Mexico, Bernalillo County had the highest number of new cases Wednesday with 77, followed by Eddy County with 27, San Juan County with 22, Doña Ana County with 21, Sandoval County with 17 and Curry County with 13. Santa Fe and Otero counties both added nine cases.
Health officials also reported another outbreak at the Otero County Processing Center, where the virus was detected among 31 federal detainees.
The state on Wednesday reported five additional deaths related to COVID-19, including a Rio Arriba County man in his 60s who had underlying conditions.
The other deaths occurred in Bernalillo, Catron, Otero and Valencia counties.
New Mexico has recorded a total of 207,972 confirmed cases, resulting in 4,392 fatalities.
On Wednesday, 72.2 percent of eligible New Mexicans were fully vaccinated, while in Santa Fe County, 73.9 percent of residents were inoculated.
Health officials have said most new infections have been among people who haven’t been fully vaccinated.
According to the Department of Health, 94 patients were hospitalized in New Mexico with COVID-19.