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Cases of COVID-19 continued a decline at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant this week with two infections reported at the nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad.
The latest weekly report was the second in a row that saw less than five case of the virus reported among workers at the facility while the pandemics numbers appeared on the decline across New Mexico.
The latest cases at WIPP brought the facility’s total to 254 infections.
The workers reporting positive test results were last at the site between Feb. 4 and 8, records show, and reported their infections between Feb. 11 and 17.
WIPP officials reported six employees were still recovering and unable to return to work, and attributed the decline in cases at the facility to a regional drop in newly reported infections.
Following months of daily increases of more than 1,000 cases of the deadly virus, New Mexico reported just 411 new cases on Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 181,736.
Eddy and Lea counties – where the WIPP site is located – reported 11 and five cases, respectively, but in the past had increases of almost or more than 100.
Eddy and Lea counties totaled 6,254 and 7,972 cases, respectively as of Thursday.
A woman in her 70s from Eddy County was reported dead on Thursday, following the death of a man in his 70s on Wednesday.
A man in his 50s from Lea County was reported dead on Wednesday, while Eddy and Lea counties only reported four and three new cases, respectively.
“The Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership continue to work with all employees to ensure Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines are followed,” read a statement from WIPP.”
Several of New Mexico’s counties showed improvement in COVID-19 test positive rates and infections per capita, state records show.
On Feb. 10, the latest gating criteria data showed 15 counties were moved in the “yellow” designation meaning multiple COVID-19 restrictions were lifted while four moved into “green” which has the least restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.
Eddy and Lea counties remained in red, but saw their numbers improving, records show.
“New Mexicans have been working hard to get this virus back under control,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “The state’s efforts to continue our aggressive testing while efficiently distributing vaccines have contributed to the improving outlook for New Mexico.”
Past COVID-19 cases at WIPP
- Feb. 4 to 10 – Three WIPP were reported infected, last at the site from Jan. 27 to Feb. 8.
- Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 – Six WIPP workers were reported infected, last at the site from Jan. 18 to 28.
- Jan. 20 to 27 – Six workers with NWP were reportedly infected, last at the site from Jan. 11 to 20.
- Jan. 13 to 19 – 14 workers reported positive, last at the site between Dec. 3 and Jan. 17.
- Jan. 6 to 12 – 25 workers tested positive: 23 from NWP, one subcontractor and one from the CBFO, last at the site between March 24 and Jan. 6.
- Dec. 29 to Jan. 5 – 15 cases: 10 NWP, three subcontractors, one at CBFO and one at a CBFO subcontractor, last at the site between March 24 and Dec. 28.
- Dec. 22 and 28 – Six positives reported, all NWP employees last at site between Dec. 3 and 18.
- Dec. 16 to 21 – Nine positives reported, seven NWP employees and two from subcontractors, last at the site between Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
- Dec. 9 to 15 – Seven positives report, six at NWP and one subcontractor last at the site between Nov. 24 and Dec. 9.
- Dec. 2 to Dec. 8 – 16 cases reported, 12 NWP, three subcontractor employees and one from the CBFO.
- Nov. 24 to Dec. 1 – Eight cases reported, seven from NWP and one subcontractor last at the site March 24 to Nov. 23.
- Nov. 18 to 23 – 13 positive cases reported, nine NWP, three subcontractor, one CBFO last at the site Oct. 26 to Nov. 19.
- Nov. 11 to Nov. 17 – 20 cases reported, 15 NWP, four subcontractor and one from CBFO, last at the site from March 24 to Nov. 12.
- Nov. 4 to Nov. 10 – 20 cases reported, 11 NWP, six subcontractor and four CBFO employees last at the site between March 24 and Nov. 8.
- Oct. 27 to Nov. 28 – Four positives reported, last at site Oct. 8 and 26.
- Oct. 18 to 26 – 17 cases reported, last at the site Oct. 3 and 23.
- Oct. 8 to 17 – 18 cases reported, last at site Sept. 17 and Oct. 14.
- Sept. 30 to Oct. 7 – Six positives reported. Three last at site Oct. 1 and others Sept. 20 to 30.
- Sept. 23 to 29 – Two positives reported, one was last at site on Sept. 16 and other not since July.
- Sept. 16 to 22 – One positive reported, last at site Sept. 16.
- Sept. 10 to 15 – Two positives. One last at site Sept. 2 and other on extended leave.
- Sept. 5 to 9 – Two positives. One NWP and one subcontractor last at site between Aug. 20 and Sept. 2.
- Sept. 2 to 3 – Four NWP employees tested positive, last at the site from Aug. 16 to 27.
- Aug. 3 to 27 – 15 NWP employees tested positive, and one worker at Regulatory Environmental Services, last at the site July 30 to Aug. 30.
- July 21 – One NWP employee tested positive, last at the site July 7
- July 9 – One CAST Specialty Trucking employee who worked at trucking terminal in Carlsbad where WIPP trucks transit tested positive.
- June 19 – One NWP employee tested positive, teleworking since March.
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-618-7631, [email protected] or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.