SANTA FE, New Mexico — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday cited “dangerous and unprecedented rates” of Covid-19 spread in her state as it set a new infections record for the second-straight day.
On Thursday, there were 672 new confirmed cases statewide, up from Wednesday's then-record 577 single-day tally. Of the added cases, 89 were in Doña Ana County, for its second-highest daily count behind Wednesday's record of 108.
The total cases throughout the pandemic now totals 34,958 in New Mexico and 4,355 in Doña Ana County.
Lujan Grisham's Thursday afternoon news conference followed the announcement of newly-imposed rules taking effect on Friday that will limit gatherings to five people or less, reduce hotel capacities and a specify a 10 p.m. closing time for restaurants and bars.
She also warned that more stringent rules could be imposed if cases keep rising.
Lujan Grisham said Thursday that the "virus is everywhere" and urged New Mexicans to "stay home" to slow the spread.
New Mexico is listed as a region of “uncontrolled spread” by the covidexitstrategy.org website that is closely watched by state health officials for infection trends.
The statewide positive infection rate has crept into the “high risk” category used by New Mexico to evaluate risks associated with travel to other states.
The scale of the problem is reflected in a record-setting 611 rapid responses by state health officials to businesses and government institutions where infections turned up during the week ending Oct. 11.
In recent days, officials responded to virus alerts throughout the state at a meat packing plant, several county jails, major oil producers, two national defense laboratories, an aerospace company, private and public hospitals, a film studio, a social media datacenter, motorcycle dealerships, big box retailers, universities, elementary schools and restaurants offering fast food and fine dining.
There were 145 people hospitalized in New Mexico for Covid-19 as of Thursday. About three people die statewide every day on average from the virus.
The number of virus-related deaths of New Mexico residents related to Covid-19 is now at 922, with just one death recorded Thursday in Luna County.
The seven-day rolling average of New Mexico's positive infection rate has risen over the past two weeks from 3.2% of those tested on Sept. 30 to 5.5% on Oct. 14, 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 new cases smooths out anomalies in the data, including delays in test results.
Average new daily confirmed cases have more than doubled from 195 to 395 during the same two-week period.
New Mexico ranks 25th among states in new Covid-19 cases per capita over the past two weeks, amid surging infection rates in Mountain West and Midwest states.