Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway reminded Eddy County residents to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 after three deaths this week and 14 new positive cases in a four-day period.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in Eddy County increased to 127 with the deaths of three elderly residents Monday and Tuesday, according to the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH).
Monday a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions died. He was hospitalized at the time of his death. Tuesday, two women in their 70s died. Both had underlying medical conditions and one of them was a resident of the Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Artesia, read a DOH news release.
“These updates provide another sad reminder of the terrible personal impact this pandemic had on our community and on many of our neighbors, and we offer our prayers and condolences to these individuals’ family members and loved ones,” Janway said.
Nine additional COVID-19 deaths in New Mexico were cited Tuesday by DOH and the number of deaths is now 3,988.
Eleven new positive COVID-19 cases were reported Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in Eddy County by DOH and three new cases were cited Tuesday by DOH.
Eddy County moved into DOH’s “turquoise” category April 7 as daily cases were reported at 6.7 out of 100,000 and the positivity rate was 2.41 percent.
“The gating criteria used to determine Eddy County’s color is based on positivity and cases per 100,000. Fourteen cases over four days would be an average of 3.5 cases per day for that period, which would still meet the state’s gating criteria. The daily reports are also not always exactly lined up with the two-week averages,” Janway said.
David Morgan, DOH spokesperson, said positive tests determine the change of color level, not deaths related to the virus.
“The Department of Health is hopeful the (Eddy) county can stay turquoise – and that we can eventually have the entire state in as good of shape as Eddy County has been,” Morgan said.
DOH defined turquoise as a low risk category, as Eddy County maintained a downward trajectory for a four week period as public health emergency orders are somewhat relaxed.
Eddy County reached the “green” category in late March, when positive cases were reported at 4.00 per 100,000 and the positivity rate was 1.33 percent. That data improved to 7.20 out of 100,000 cases with a positivity rate of 2.13 percent.
Before that Eddy County was in the “yellow”, as daily cases were reported at 16.70 out of 100,000 and the positivity rate declined to 3.79%.
As of Tuesday, DOH said Eddy County had 69,270 total tests with 6,710 total cases and 6,269 recovered from COVID-19.
Janway said the data along with a series of positive COVID-19 cases within the Carlsbad Municipal Schools is a reminder that COVID-19 has not fully concluded.
“We have certainly all enjoyed the recent decline in COVID-19 numbers, but we should still treat this virus seriously and continue to keep appropriate COVID-19 safety procedures in place,” he said.
Morgan said asymptomatic COVID-19 spread still occurs and getting tested, even if one does not have symptoms, helps communities monitor for where the virus is.
“And it allows those who test positive the ability to take protective steps to prevent others from getting sick,” he said.
In New Mexico on Monday, 647 new positive COVID-19 cases were announced by DOH and 187 additional cases were reported Tuesday.
The overall COVID-19 total across New Mexico was 191,164 as of Tuesday per DOH.
DOH said as of Tuesday, there were 103 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico. This number does not include New Mexicans who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been transferred to a hospital out of state.
Also, as of Tuesday, there were 175,460 COVID-19 cases designated as having recovered by DOH.
New Mexicans continued with COVID-19 inoculations, according to DOH, as 1.46 million doses were administered across the state as of Tuesday.
DOH said 53.1 percent of New Mexicans have received one dose and 35.3 percent were fully vaccinated.
In Eddy County, 32.6 percent of the county’s 44,521 residents received at least one shot as of Tuesday and 21.1 percent were fully vaccinated and 33.3 percent of residents registered, DOH indicated.
Morgan said residents may register for the vaccine at vaccineNM.org.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.