County COVID cases settle at low level
March 16, 2022
Confirmed COVID-19 case numbers settled into a low level in Quay County last week as it was one of about a dozen counties in New Mexico that were upgraded by the state health department from red to the orange level of risk — the first time that had happened in months.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Quay County last week was eight, including five on Friday. That compares to four cases the previous week.
That low level roughly compares to the county’s turquoise levels of community spread seen last spring and early summer.
The total number of cases in the county rose to 1,981 since the pandemic began in spring 2020.
According to state epidemiology reports, Quay County’s COVID-19 case rate fell to 9.4 new cases per 100,000 people from Feb. 22 to March 4, another substantial decline from the 15.3 rate in the previous reporting period.
Neighboring De Baca, Curry and Roosevelt counties also improved to the orange level, along with Quay.
Neighboring Harding County saw the state’s worst rate, at 65.2 per 100,000. De Baca County, once the worst in the state, was the lowest, at 7.8 per 100,000. Quay County had the third-lowest level.
The breakdown of COVID-19 cases by ZIP code in Quay County through Friday was 1,521 in Tucumcari, 279 in Logan, 93 in San Jon, 34 in House, 21 in McAlister, 18 in Bard and 14 in Nara Visa. All the new cases were in Tucumcari.
No confirmed COVID-19 deaths were reported last week in the county. The death toll in Quay County remained at 49 since the pandemic began in spring 2020. A total of 41 deaths have occurred since late May 2021.
A total of 1,886 people in Quay County were deemed by the DOH to have recovered from the virus.
These COVID-19 rapid responses were reported in the county last week:
• Wells Fargo Bank, Tucumcari, one case reported March 7;
• Tucumcari Public Schools, one case reported March 9.
In New Mexico, the seven-day daily case average fell to 265 by Friday, compared to 361 during the previous week.
A total of 264 new cases of coronavirus were reported in New Mexico on Friday. That raised the total since the pandemic began to more than 515,000.
A total of 148 people were hospitalized in New Mexico with the disease Friday, a decrease of about 50 from the previous week.
Ten COVID-19 deaths were reported in the state Friday, raising the total to 7,050.
The total number of active cases in the Amarillo metro region plummeted Friday to 638. That was a drop by nearly half from the previous week and a steep decline from about 13,000 cases several weeks ago.
The disease has killed 1,166 people in the Amarillo metro since the pandemic began.
In the U.S., more than 79.5 million people have been confirmed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with more than 967,000 deaths, through Saturday.
According to state data through Friday, 53.2% of Quay County residents have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus. That was an increase of 0.1%.
About 60.6% of county residents have received one shot of COVID-19 vaccine through Friday, which did not change from the previous week.
In New Mexico, 78.2% of eligible residents had been fully vaccinated by Friday, with 91.9% receiving at least one dose of vaccine. Those numbers barely budged from the previous week.
Residents can schedule vaccinations through the state’s registration portal at VaccineNM.org.
The Department of Health’s vaccination helpline is available at 855-600-3453, option 3.
Health Secretary David Scrase during a briefing on Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the pandemic in New Mexico.
That week in 2020, four confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state. The first death from the virus was reported two weeks later.
Scrase asked for 70 seconds of silence — each second signifying 100 deaths from COVID-19 — for those casualties in New Mexico.
Quay County’s first confirmed COVID-19 case didn’t occur until weeks later, and the first death of a resident was in April 2020, though he contracted it in Florida.
Four-fifths of the county’s deaths have occurred in the past year, when the Delta variant tore through the area.
Scrase noted the state’s emergency health order expires next week. If a new COVID-19 variant shows up in New Mexico, he said he would be more inclined to more closely monitor hospitalizations than case numbers.
He said the state also would stockpile new COVID-19 treatment pills that drastically reduce the chance of hospitalization if they are taken during the early stages of an infection.
The New Mexico Public Education Department on Thursday also released its newest version of a digital COVID-19. “toolkit.” It allows school districts to set their own face mask policies and to accept easy, over-the-counter home tests in place of school-based testing programs.
The only remaining state-mandated mask requirement is for those returning to school from five days of self-isolation after testing positive: They must wear a mask for days six through 10.