While New Mexico has remained ahead of the curve nationally when it comes to numbers of people per capita tested for COVID-19 per day, it’s still only managed to test 12,527 since early March. That could change soon, according to state officials who say daily testing will double by next week, and keep growing.
New Mexico’s state laboratory and the private Tricore References Laboratory are adding machines that will boost testing from the current 1,300 people per day, said David Morgan, communications director for the New Mexico Department of Health, with an expectation of 4,650 tests per day by April 20.
Here’s how the numbers will increase over three weeks, according to Morgan:
- April 6: Increase to 2,625 tests per day, with 1,800 by TriCore and 825 by the state lab.
- April 13: Increase to 3,225 per day, with 2,400 by TriCore and 825 by the state lab.
- April 20: Increase to 4,650 per day, with 2,400 by TriCore and 2,250 by the state lab.
As of yesterday, New Mexico has tested 6 per 1,000 people in the state, ranking at #7 for most tests based on state population, according to analysis by New Mexico In Depth of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and The COVID Tracking Project.
It also remains in the bottom tier of positive tests returned from testing, with a 2.24% positive test rate. As the state ramps up testing in the coming weeks the percentage of positive tests could significantly increase.
The Department of Health now has an online self-diagnostic tool for people to check whether their symptoms warrant a test. The tool recommends testing if a person has a fever and either coughing or shortness of breath, rather than the more commonly heard advice that one of those three symptoms could mean a test is needed.
Morgan said the tool provides effective guidance, and that “two out of three symptoms may be enough to justify testing based in part on their severity” but also said that, ultimately, whether you’ll qualify for a test “remains a human-based decision.”