The New Mexico Department of Health and the Public Education Department announced Friday that schools will be temporarily closed after winter break. The goal behind the closure is to minimize what may be a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to a news release, no in-person learning will be permitted during the weeks of January 4 and January 11, 2021. Also, schools operating under the hybrid model will not be allowed to return to school until January 18, 2021. The release also states that those operating in small-group instruction remotely may begin welcoming their 5:1 groups of K-3 and Special Education students back to school beginning January 18, 2021.
There were 75 positive COVID-19 cases reported for Eddy County on Thursday, which was our highest single day total for several weeks. There were 35 positives reported on Wednesday. According to the Department of Health, 916 people in New Mexico were hospitalized on Thursday for COVID-19, with 159 patients on ventilators.
On Thursday, the Department of Health issued an emergency order prohibiting all hospital acute care facilities in New Mexico from performing nonessential surgeries through Jan. 4. An emergency order related to crisis care standards was also issued. This allows hospitals to begin rationing care based on the severity of a patient’s symptoms. The state did indicate some good signs that the spread of COVID-19 has been reduced, including the reduction from a 24 percent positivity rate to 13 percent. The spread rate, which measures how many people will be infected by each infection, has dropped from 1.3 to 0.77.