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FRI: New Mexico Officials Say Virus Fight Needs To Be Sustained, + More

New Mexico Officials Say Virus Fight Needs To Be SustainedBy Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

Top New Mexico officials are elated that the state is meeting all of its benchmarks when it comes to addressing the coronavirus pandemic, but they warned Thursday that the recent progress will have to be sustained to clear the way for public health restrictions to be eased and for more of the state to be reopened.

A series of charts and graphs presented during a briefing showed the average daily case counts are below the reopening targets set by the state. 

The rate of spread, testing and tracing capacities and the number of hospitalizations also are trending downward.

Health officials said all of the factors are linked to public behavior, something Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recognized in a tweet Thursday as she praised residents.

“Your actions are unequivocally saving lives in our state and I am so grateful,” she wrote. “We are winning the fight against this hideous virus — but we have to remember how we got here and the risk of letting our guard down.”

The seven-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases stands at about 132 as the daily statewide case totals have been declining, health officials said. In all, the state has reported 23,951 infections and 734 deaths. That includes an additional 208 cases Thursday. 

Health Officials Say Low Prevalence Of Virus Key To Reopening N.M. Schools – – By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

Human Services Secretary David Scrase and state epidemiologist Chad Smelser said in a briefing Thursday the case totals and other data are only part of the equation as state officials consider whether to reopen more segments of the economy or allow for more in-person classroom time for students. 

While a low prevalence rate is key, they acknowledged that studies have shown children often do not learn as well at home and that the state lacks the infrastructure to ensure every student has broadband access for online learning. 

They also said the socialization that comes with children being in school is also important for development.

The discussion about schools came as New Mexico’s largest public school district in Albuquerque opted to extend online instruction through the end of the first semester. 

The governor earlier this week expressed hope that most elementary school students will be able to return to classrooms after Labor Day under a hybrid mode. 


Navajo Nation Reports 19 New COVID-19 Cases, 3 More Deaths – Associated Press

Navajo Nation health officials have reported 19 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths. 

That brings the total number of people infected to 9,519 with the known death toll at 487 as of Thursday. 

Navajo Department of Health officials say 90,304 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 6,996 have recovered.  

The Navajo Nation lifted its stay-at-home order last Sunday, but is encouraging residents to leave their homes only for emergencies or essential activities.  

Much of the Navajo Nation has been closed since March as the coronavirus swept through the reservation that extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.  

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