Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

New coronavirus case confirmed in Quay


June 24, 2020

The state Department of Health on Thursday reported Quay County's first confirmed case of coronavirus in more than a month.

David Morgan, a spokesman for the agency, stated in an email Friday the infected person was a woman in her 20s. He stated there was no evidence of community spread of the virus in the case.

It was the first reported case in the county since May 12.

Quay County now has a total of five cases, with one death, since the pandemic began in the United States early this year. The state removed one case from the county's total last week after officials determined the person actually resided in Arizona.

Of the previous four reported cases in the county, three have recovered. All were in the 88401 ZIP code, which is Tucumcari. Two were age 40 to 49; the other two were 70 to 79.

More than 520 people in the county have been tested for COVID-19 through Monday.

A total of 128 new cases were reported in New Mexico on Monday, bringing the total to 10,694.

No deaths were reported Monday, keeping that total at 469.

McKinley County leads the state with more than 3,000 cases. More than 4,700 New Mexicans have recovered from the disease.

East of Tucumcari, Amarillo has seen a significant decline in COVID-19 cases in recent days but still had more than 1,400 active cases as of Monday. Spikes in cases in the neighboring states of Texas and Arizona continue to be a concern to many health officials, however.

In the U.S., more than 2.3 million people have been confirmed with the disease, with more than 120,000 deaths.

Health briefing

New Mexico Health Services Secretary David Scrase said in a briefing Friday he and other state officials were “rethinking” additional easing of coronavirus restrictions in the coming weeks.

Scrase said “it’s a big concern” an upswing of COVID-19 cases in neighboring Arizona and Texas might spill over into New Mexico. He noted people who attended a graduation party and a baseball tournament, both in Arizona, brought the virus home with them.

He said when the state eases restrictions, he wants countermeasures from residents to control the virus’ spread, such as more mask usage and social distancing.

Scrase said while the state’s spread rate of the disease remained below its revised goal of 1.05, the northeast and southeast regions — the latter which includes Quay County — saw spread rates of 1.24 and 1.28 respectively.

He said he “wasn’t as concerned” about the higher rates in those regions because of low population densities but added “it bears watching.”

Other observations by Scrase:

• He noted a World Health Organization official walked back recent comments about the transmission of COVID-19 from asymptomatic carriers was rare. Scrase noted 24% of New Mexicans who have tested positive for the virus have displayed no symptoms.

• Scrase said a recent study showed compliance with mask recommendations was proportional to the amount of trust people had in science and was not necessarily related to political leanings.

Loan deadline

New Mexico Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes on Friday announced new forgiveness and flexibility rules for the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program that would benefit more businesses, and urged those who have not applied to take another look at the program.

The PPP deadline for loan funding is June 30. Last week, $129 billion was left in the fund.

With the new PPP Flexibility Act, signed into law by President Trump on June 5, many more businesses in New Mexico that apply for forgiveness should receive it. That means more of the money going to businesses will stay in the state and not have to be repaid.

The biggest change allows PPP loan recipients until Dec. 31 to restore the employee headcount to pre-pandemic levels. The provision does not require hiring back a specific worker but just reaching the same headcount pre-pandemic to qualify for some loan forgiveness.

The new rules also reduce the percentage of PPP dollars required to be spent on payroll to 60% from 75%.

The term for new loans also is extended from two to five years for any repayment amounts that would be due back to the lender, and the time period to use PPP money has been extended from eight to 24 weeks.

Still no camping

Overnight camping at Ute Lake State Park, Conchas Lake State Park and other state parks will remain closed and all events in them are canceled through the July 4 holiday.

State parks remain open for day use only, according to a news release Thursday from the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

The agency urges that people who use state parks keep groups to five or fewer people, maintain social distancing, wear masks and bring hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment.

Visitors centers, playgrounds and shower facilities remain closed, and no campfires are allowed.


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