Another two cases of COVID-19 were reported at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant last week, bringing WIPP’s total caseload since March to 263.
The latest report marked two months of weekly infection rates less than five cases a week, compared to regular double-digit infection numbers throughout the fall and winter.
The two employees infected received positive COVID-19 test results between March 25 and 31, per a WIPP news release.
The facility continued to monitor three employees who were infected and still recovering, unable to return to work per COVID-19 protocols, the release read.
Declining COVID-19 case numbers at WIPP followed declines in infections throughout New Mexico and its southeast region where WIPP is located near the border of Eddy and Lea Counties.
The latest COVID-19 numbers published by New Mexico state health officials on Friday showed five new cases in Eddy County and 10 in Lea County for totals of 6,675 and 8,213, respectively.
The New Mexico Department of Public Health paused its daily COVID-19 updates over the weekend in observance of the Easter holiday.
Also, on Friday the State reported seven people dead from COVID-19, including man in his 80s from Eddy County.
Other fatalities included two women in their 70s and a man in his 80s from Bernalillo County, a man in his 20s and woman in her 70s from McKinley County and a woman in her 90s from Santa Fe County.
Bernalillo continued to lead the state in COVID-19 infections with 70 as of Friday for a total of 54,906 cases, followed by Dona Ana County with 29 new cases for a total of 23,926.
The latest report brought New Mexico’s total to 192,152 infections since March with 3,949 deaths and 1773,981 recoveries.
Increased availability and use of COVID-19 vaccines were also credited for the declining infection numbers, and on Monday New Mexico announced that all New Mexicans 16 and older were eligible to be vaccinated, per orders from President Joe Biden.
The Department of Health said it would continue to prioritize vaccines for New Mexicans 75 and older or 60 and older with chronic health conditions, but that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expected to increase supplies to states.
“President Biden directed states to make all adults eligible for vaccine by May 1. New Mexico will hit that target nearly a month early,” said DOH Cabinet Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins.
Past COVID-19 cases at WIPP
- March 18 to 24 – One employee tested positive for the virus
- March 11 to 17 – Two workers were reported infected.
- March 4 to March 10 – One worker reported being infected with the virus.
- Feb. 25 to March 3 – One worker was reported infected, last at the site on Feb. 23.
- Feb. 18 to 24 – Two workers were infected, last at the site between Feb. 16 and 24.
- Feb. 11 to 17 – Two workers reported positive test results, last at the site between Feb. 4 and 8.
- Feb. 4 to 10 – Three WIPP were reported infected, last at the site from Jan. 27 to Feb. 8.
- Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 – Six WIPP workers were reported infected, last at the site from Jan. 18 to 28.
- Jan. 20 to 27 – Six workers with NWP were reportedly infected, last at the site from Jan. 11 to 20.
- Jan. 13 to 19 – 14 workers reported positive, last at the site between Dec. 3 and Jan. 17.
- Jan. 6 to 12 – 25 workers tested positive: 23 from NWP, one subcontractor and one from the CBFO, last at the site between March 24 and Jan. 6.
- Dec. 29 to Jan. 5 – 15 cases: 10 NWP, three subcontractors, one at CBFO and one at a CBFO subcontractor, last at the site between March 24 and Dec. 28.
- Dec. 22 and 28 – Six positives reported, all NWP employees last at site between Dec. 3 and 18.
- Dec. 16 to 21 – Nine positives reported, seven NWP employees and two from subcontractors, last at the site between Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
- Dec. 9 to 15 – Seven positives report, six at NWP and one subcontractor last at the site between Nov. 24 and Dec. 9.
- Dec. 2 to Dec. 8 – 16 cases reported, 12 NWP, three subcontractor employees and one from the CBFO.
- Nov. 24 to Dec. 1 – Eight cases reported, seven from NWP and one subcontractor last at the site March 24 to Nov. 23.
- Nov. 18 to 23 – 13 positive cases reported, nine NWP, three subcontractor, one CBFO last at the site Oct. 26 to Nov. 19.
- Nov. 11 to Nov. 17 – 20 cases reported, 15 NWP, four subcontractor and one from CBFO, last at the site from March 24 to Nov. 12.
- Nov. 4 to Nov. 10 – 20 cases reported, 11 NWP, six subcontractor and four CBFO employees last at the site between March 24 and Nov. 8.
- Oct. 27 to Nov. 28 – Four positives reported, last at site Oct. 8 and 26.
- Oct. 18 to 26 – 17 cases reported, last at the site Oct. 3 and 23.
- Oct. 8 to 17 – 18 cases reported, last at site Sept. 17 and Oct. 14.
- Sept. 30 to Oct. 7 – Six positives reported. Three last at site Oct. 1 and others Sept. 20 to 30.
- Sept. 23 to 29 – Two positives reported, one was last at site on Sept. 16 and other not since July.
- Sept. 16 to 22 – One positive reported, last at site Sept. 16.
- Sept. 10 to 15 – Two positives. One last at site Sept. 2 and other on extended leave.
- Sept. 5 to 9 – Two positives. One NWP and one subcontractor last at site between Aug. 20 and Sept. 2.
- Sept. 2 to 3 – Four NWP employees tested positive, last at the site from Aug. 16 to 27.
- Aug. 3 to 27 – 15 NWP employees tested positive, and one worker at Regulatory Environmental Services, last at the site July 30 to Aug. 30.
- July 21 – One NWP employee tested positive, last at the site July 7
- July 9 – One CAST Specialty Trucking employee who worked at trucking terminal in Carlsbad where WIPP trucks transit tested positive.
- June 19 – One NWP employee tested positive, teleworking since March.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-618-7631, firstname.lastname@example.org or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.