The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday the second COVID-19 death this week in Eddy County.
In a news release, DOH stated a man in his 80s and a resident of Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care Facility in Artesia died.
The death was the 145th overall in Eddy County since March 2020, according to DOH.
DOH indicated at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff at Good Life Senior Living facilities in Artesia, Los Lunas, and Portales, read a news release.
New COVID-19 cases in Eddy County dropped Wednesday as 40 were reported. DOH noted 54 new cases Tuesday and 96 on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
The Carlsbad area 88220 zip code was second in New Mexico’s top-10 zip codes with the most COVID-19 cases with 31. An Albuquerque zip code was first with 41 total cases Wednesday.
As of Thursday morning, Eddy County had 88,094 total tests with 7,514 total cases and 6,824 recovered, according to DOH.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended fully vaccinated residents in places like Eddy County where COVID-19 transmissions were substantial or high wear masks indoors.
As of Aug. 4, CDC cited Eddy County’s COVID-19 transmission levels as high with 449 new cases per 100,000 people and 17.66 reported positive tests.
“We are strongly encouraging our employees to wear masks when talking to the public,” said Eddy County Assessor Gemma Ferguson.
Eddy County Treasurer Laurie Pruitt did not encourage employees to mask up last year.
“But we do have a barrier between us and the customers. Several of my employees have had COVID (-19) already and as far as I know, they have all been vaccinated,” she said.
Pruitt said chairs used by customers were separated by 6 feet, and masks were encouraged along with use of alternative payment methods.
“Such as mailing payments and utilizing online or drop box. I won’t change anything at this time,” she said.
Eddy County Clerk Darlene Rosprim said employees in her department were given the choice of utilizing a face mask.
“We have barriers between our employees and the public, and provide hand sanitizer,” she said.
City of Carlsbad Spokesperson Kyle Marksteiner said the City was trying follow CDC guidelines and working on an update as of Thursday afternoon.
Eddy County lagged behind New Mexico’s average for COVID-19 vaccines, read DOH data.
In New Mexico, 73.4 percent received at least one COVID-19 inoculation and 65.1 percent received both vaccines.
In Eddy County, nearly 42 percent of the population received both COVID-19 vaccines and 48 percent received one vaccine.
In August, COVID-19 vaccinations are offered from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Monday and Friday at the Carlsbad Public Health Office at 1306 West Stevens Street. Vaccines are offered at the Artesia Public Health Office at 1001 West Memorial Drive from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday, per DOH.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.