Pandemic afflicts impoverished areas of New Mexico

New Mexico

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase gives an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in the state as New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, left, listens during a news conference in the state Capitol in Santa Fe, N.M., Wednesday, April 15, 2020. (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, Pool)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A top state health official is warning that COVID-19 infections are far more prevalent in low-income areas of the New Mexico, potentially straining Medicaid health care.

Human Services Secretary David Scrase said Wednesday that an analysis of infection rates by census tract shows that highly impoverished areas have infection rates seven times higher than the most affluent zones.

Health officials announced 154 newly confirmed infections statewide, led by Dona Ana County in southern New Mexico with 33, and three related deaths.

State health officials are wary that festivities over the Labor Day holiday weekend could lead to renewed surges in COVID-19 infections.

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