The COVID-19 numbers reported by the New Mexico Department of Health on Tuesday afternoon were extremely troubling. The state reported 2,112 new positive tests for the disease, which was more than 20 percent higher than the previous highest daily total. Additionally, the state reported 28 COVID-related deaths on Tuesday, also the most for a single day.
The list reportedly included a male resident of Bernalillo County who was 12 years old or younger who also had underlying conditions. This is heartbreaking. Common underlying conditions associated with coronavirus deaths include diabetes and heart disease.
The state also reported more than 750 virus patients in New Mexico hospitals.
There were 73 positive COVID-19 cases in Eddy County announced on Tuesday. The high recent number of positives is collaborated by our conversations with members of our local medical community. Eddy County is certainly not alone – 141 positives were reported for Santa Fe County on Tuesday, for example, and 338 for Dona Ana County. There were also 97 positives in Lea County and 109 in Chaves County. On some occasions, El Paso and Lubbock have each had as many daily positives as New Mexico.
At this point, it is too early to tell if the recent statewide shutdown is having an impact on the case count. The numbers we see on Tuesday were typically people who tested several days earlier.
While we strongly disagree with several aspects of the state’s new list of regulations- specifically the decision to close locally owned businesses but leave “Large Retailers” alone – we want to let you know that the City of Carlsbad is taking this health situation extremely seriously, as we have been doing for months. Our employees are instructed to wear masks and minimize contact while doing their jobs. As we stated Sunday, we remain deeply committed to providing our residents with essential services, but we also want to make certain we are doing everything we can to protect our employees and our community. The Carlsbad Fire Department keeps us well informed and well equipped with PPE.
As a federally run nuclear facility, the Waste Isolation Pilot is committed to a high level of transparency. Early on, WIPP made the decision to provide public updates on its total number of positive COVID cases. Many of these updates have subsequently been reported in the media. So, it may appear that WIPP has a higher number of positive COVID cases than anyone else. However, most other large employers don’t publish weekly updates about their case count, and some certainly likely have comparable numbers of COVID cases to WIPP. Furthermore, contact tracing at WIPP indicates that employees are likely being exposed to COVID through personal gatherings with family and friends, not at the facility. WIPP is not unique in its COVID count- just in its level of reporting.
As with our other local employers, WIPP has taken significant steps to keep the facility in compliance with all state regulations and CDC guidelines. What WIPP’s COVID reports do provide is a good example of what many employers are experiencing right now. Let’s keep working on getting through this.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway