The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) reported a man in his 60s was Eddy County’s 144th COVID-19 death Tuesday.
The man was hospitalized at the time of his death, which was the first in Eddy County in nearly three weeks.
New positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County stood at 96 Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, per DOH data. The Carlsbad area 88220 zip code topped New Mexico’s top-10 zip codes with the most COVID-19 cases at 69.
Tuesday’s new cases in Eddy County dropped to 54 and the 88220 zip code ranked second in New Mexico zip codes with 41, a DOH news release indicated.
Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz said increased tests and vaccinations were part of a new strategy set by DOH.
“They are going to increase their testing and vaccination days to two days a week rather than one day a week,” she said. “Previously they were doing one day a week because of staffing.”
In a news release, DOH said COVID-19 vaccinations were offered Monday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Eddy County Public Health Office in Carlsbad at 1306 West Stevens Street.
Eddy County Manager Allen Davis said the County, City of Carlsbad, City of Artesia and some private businesses advocated increased vaccination rates.
Wednesday morning, Eddy County was well below the statewide average for vaccinations.
In New Mexico, 73 percent of the population received at least one dose and 65 percent had both vaccines, per DOH.
Eddy County had 48 percent with at least one vaccine and 42 percent with both vaccines.
“We’re short a bit,” Davis said of Eddy County’s vaccination rates. “We’re No. 4 on the total list for counties with a population of 20,000.”
District 5 Eddy County Commissioner Sarah Cordova said vaccines were effective.
“This is one more vaccine that has been put to use. We’ve eradicated other diseases. I’m not making that statement that we’re not going to eradicate COVID (19). But we’re going to knock it back significantly,” she said.
Cordova is a certified family nurse practitioner.
As of Wednesday morning, DOH cited 87,893 total tests in Eddy County with 7,474 total cases and 6,824 recovered.
As of Monday, Armendariz said Carlsbad 4,242 total cases with 46 deaths, Artesia had 2,273 total cases and 32 deaths and Loving had 270 with one death. She said 393 cases were unknown along with 64 unknown deaths.
Across New Mexico Tuesday, DOH reported 478 new cases and 211, 970 overall. Tuesday’s lone death in Eddy County was the only one in the State.
DOH cited 4,415 COVID-19 deaths in New Mexico since March of last year.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.