SANTA FE, New Mexico -- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called it "a tough pill to swallow for many New Mexicans" as she rolled back the state's re-opening because of a significant uptick in coronavirus spread.
Lujan Grisham announced the below-listed measures on Thursday, citing accelerating rates of infection across large expanses of the state including population centers in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.
- Indoor restaurant dining and brewery seating is prohibited again; only 50% capacity for outdoor dining; takeout and delivery still allowed.
- Fall contact sports such as football and soccer for public schools, and also recreational leagues for all ages, are cancelled. All other fall sports will be cancelled if school reopening has to be delayed.
- People exercising outdoors will now be expected for the first time to wear a mask — including runners.
- State parks are closed to anyone from out of state. All park guests must provide proof of New Mexico residency; still no overnight camping allowed.
The sweeping revisions listed above to the state’s standing public health order will go into effect Monday, July 13.
The governor also said she is weighing whether possibly to cancel or delay the state’s scheduled Aug. 3 return to school classrooms if the spread of the virus cannot be reined in by more responsible behavior such as wearing masks in public and avoiding gatherings, including family celebrations.
“There has been significant community spread in our state since New Mexico opened more businesses,” explained state Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel, “and that spread has not been sufficiently mitigated with Covid-safe behaviors like face-coverings. Without those behaviors and strategies being uniformly adopted, the best way to reduce transmission is to reduce the opportunity for spread."
As of Thursday, there were 238 new cases and six additional deaths across the state. That brought total cases to 14,251 and 533 fatalities to date. Bernalillo and Doña Ana counties, encompassing Albuquerque and Las Cruces, reported the most new cases.
There were 21 new cases in Doña Ana County to take its total to 1,306. In neighboring Otero County in southern New Mexico, there were two new cases for a total of 67. The Otero County Prison had one new case for a total of 727 in an outbreak that has infected more than 80% of the prison's population.
New Mexico’s seven-day average rate for positive tests has crept upward to 3.9%, according to data from the the Covid Tracking Project. Adjacent Arizona led all states with a roughly 27% rate.
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.)