New Mexico charting surge in coronavirus around Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State health officials are charting a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the Albuquerque area as New Mexico nears 17,000 reported cases of the COVID-19 illness.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday the number of infections tallied by the New Mexico Department of Health nearly doubled from mid-June to mid-July in Bernalillo County, including the state’s most urban area.

That compared with a 60% increase statewide over the same period.

State health officials say at least 571 people have died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Human Services Secretary David Scrase told the Journal that Bernalillo County had “almost a vertical line uptick” in cases, and blamed the recent increase on people growing tired of health restrictions, leaving homes more often and becoming less cautious.

Scrase said the surge also could be traced to Fourth of July social gatherings,.

McKinley County in northwestern New Mexico still has the most infections per person of any county. It has recorded 199 deaths from COVID-19, compared with 100 in Bernalillo County.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for up to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness and death. The vast majority recover.