- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 21, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Health officials in New Mexico on Wednesday reported a single-day record of 827 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths.

The latest numbers increase the total cases to 38,715 statewide since the pandemic started with 950 known deaths.

Of the new cases, New Mexico Department of Health officials said 292 of them were in Bernalillo County and 172 more in Dona Ana County.

New Mexico had set a single-day record with 819 confirmed COVID-19 cases last Friday with 557 more cases Saturday, 518 Sunday, another 518 cases Monday and 599 Tuesday.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some - especially older adults and people with existing health problems - it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico Department of Health has erroneously sent old coronavirus test results to about 30,000 people. About 1,600 of them were awaiting new test results when they received the notification.

Department spokeswoman Marisa Maez said thousands of people received a repeated notification about an old test because of a technical hiccup caused by a software update, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

“The texts were basically repeats of those prior notifications … even though the recipients had not recently tested,” she said.

The department and software provider sent out follow-up messages apologizing for the error and asking people to disregard the notifications, she said.

The messages were not a result of any “malicious attack” nor were they a result of a hack, she said. But many residents raised concerns anyway.

“It’s kind of terrifying,” Santa Fe resident Jen Stillions said, adding that she was awaiting the results of a recent COVID-19 test and even sent the notification to a volunteer coordinator for a hospice care center where she lends a hand.

Stillions said she worries other people awaiting a new test result might have seen the old result “and thought they were OK and went out and exposed a bunch of people. That’s pretty catastrophic, if you ask me.”

Another resident Karen Baker said she and her husband both received the testing messages, though they hadn’t been tested for the virus in a month or more.

“My concern is how much this will erode confidence in the system that the DOH has set up,” she said.

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