SANTA FE, New Mexico -- New Mexico has extended its stay-at-home health order with minor revisions through the end of August in response to a surge in coronavirus cases, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday afternoon.
Face masks will also remain required in all public places, she said, and law enforcement may issue citations to individuals who deliberately flout the rule. Lujan Grisham added that more progress is still needed before the state can reopen the economy further.
The governor urged residents to be cautious and conscientious in avoiding possible exposure, particularly amid new data this week that shows virus infections on the rise at houses of worship in the state.
“Personal behavior is the essential factor right now... too many New Mexicans are still gathering in groups, not wearing face coverings and taking undue risks," the governor said. "The state’s public health requirements reflect everything we know to work in reducing the opportunity for the virus to spread."
The governor previously delayed re-entry to school classrooms until at least Sept. 7 and rolled back plans to reopen the economy by restoring a ban on indoor restaurant service and requiring a 14-day self-quarantine as travelers enter or return to New Mexico.
The state reported 255 new cases Thursday for a cumulative count of 20,388 and three additional deaths for 635 total fatalities. Doña Ana County had 22 new cases for a tally of 2,139 to date; the death toll held steady at 19.
There was one new inmate case at the Otero County Prison Facility, which along with the Otero County ICE Processing Center, has been responsible for 907 infections thus far. The governor said after a call with Vice President Mike Pence, the two federally-run facilities have agreed to follow New Mexico health requirements in an effort to reduce additional case load.
Thursday's briefing by the governor and her staff also came as new data from the New Mexico Department of Health shows that Covid-19 cases are decreasing in a number of industries like restaurants, gyms and travel, but they're increasing at places of worship.
Lujan Grisham's on-going public health order allows churches to have services at 25% capacity. The state data from the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Bureau, Epidemiology and Response Division shows that from July 8-14, virus cases jumped from 3.7 percent to 5.2 percent from July 15-21.
David Morgan, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health said the best thing people can do right now is stay home - and wear those masks if they need to go out.
"We do have to be able to work within the parameters for what the capacities are for these facilities, also while doing so, we can't let our guard down," Morgan said.
The state data is shown below followed by a video player with the governor's entire Covid-19 briefing on Thursday.