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New Mexico

Dona Ana County has 30 of state’s 205 new cases as schools warned to follow virus rules

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SANTA FE, New Mexico— Health officials in New Mexico on Sunday reported 205 new coronavirus cases with four additional deaths.

The latest numbers increase New Mexico’s case total to 22,315 and the death toll to at least 685.

Of the 205 new cases, 49 occurred in Bernalillo County and 30 in Dona Ana County, where the infection total to date hit 2,447.

Bernalillo had two of the the state’s four latest deaths while Dona Ana had none.

According to data gathered by The Associated Press from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Mexico dropped over the past two weeks, going from 289.29 new confirmed cases per day to 197.86 daily.

The seven-day rolling average of 4.86 daily deaths in New Mexico has not changed over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico Public School Insurance Authority board is sending a letter warning schools and districts about the dangers of not complying with coronavirus guidelines.

The letter to member districts and charter schools warns that if they do not comply with state health restrictions, they may jeopardize their chances of receiving coverage for coronavirus-related work claims, The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported.

Executive Director Richard Valerio said districts that violate mask-wearing mandates, bring students back to school too soon or prematurely order employees back to in-person work can be at risk of losing their coverage.

The authority provides insurance for all school districts in the state except for Albuquerque. 

The board also approved the creation of a task force to better understand the challenges of returning to school during a pandemic.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced in July that schools would not reopen in person until at least Sept. 7. Students will begin online classes on Aug. 20.

The insurance authority is still trying to determine how to implement coverage for schools during a pandemic. One idea that is being considered is setting aside $1 million for liability insurance if an outbreak occurs at a school.

The organization’s letter is evidence of a broader dilemma education insurers are facing, said Marty Esquivel, general counsel for the authority. 

Esquivel said he is concerned that there “may be a situation where some districts choose to circumvent the order intentionally or unintentionally and the question becomes, what happens in that case?”

The authority is also still trying to determine how to proceed with worker compensation claims.

Valerio said the authority already has received several workers compensation claims as a result of the coronavirus. 

“They were denied because we could not determine the employee caught the Covid virus from the workplace,” he said. “I think it’s gonna be really hard to pinpoint or determine that, though contract tracing may come into play there.”

Coronavirus / Education / Health / News / Top Stories

Associated Press




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