SANTE FE, New Mexico — After successive days of record-setting daily increases in Covid-19 infections, New Mexico health officials on Saturday reported 577 new cases.
It tied for the third-highest number of daily infections occurring during the pandemic. There were also 577 new cases reported on Wednesday, which at the time was a record high.
Saturday's case count - while still very high - marked a drop from the all-time high of 819 cases on Friday, which broke the prior single-day record of 672 which happened Thursday.
As they have over the past week, the counties that are home to New Mexico's two most populous cities - Albuquerque and Las Cruces - led the state in contributing to Saturday's infection tally.
There were 191 new cases reported in Bernalillo County and 98 in Doña Ana County on Saturday. There were also 19 new cases among inmates at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County, but those are tallied separately from the county numbers.
New Mexico now has a total of 36,343 infections throughout the pandemic, of which 4,596 have occurred in in Doña Ana County.
In addition to the new cases, the state on Saturday also reported one additional New Mexico death from the virus - a woman in her 80s in Bernalillo County. The total number of statewide deaths grew to 929.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has shared her dismay on social media over the past 24 hours, tweeting, “You’ve heard me say it all before. New Mexicans are giving the virus opportunities to spread, and it is spreading.”
New rules to limit gatherings to five people or fewer, reduce hotel capacities and impose a 10 p.m. closing time for restaurants all took effect on Friday as the eclipsing state record was being set.
The seven-day rolling average of New Mexico’s positive infection rate has risen over the past two weeks to 5.4%, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Comparing seven-day averages of newly confirmed cases smooths out anomalies in the data, including delays in test results.
The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
Below you can see county-by-county data for virus cases and deaths across New Mexico. The data comes from Johns Hopkins University, so the numbers may sometimes vary a bit from what's reported by the state health department. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)