Five detainees and now an officer at the Taos County Adult Detention Center have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in less than two weeks.
Taos County public information officer Anissa Arrambide said the officer, who is also the first county employee to be reported positive, received the results on Friday (Oct. 23) and is now in self-quarantine.
"The employee will continue to quarantine until a negative test result is received," Arrambide said. "The detention staff were administered a Rapid [Test] at Holy Cross Hospital on Saturday, October 24, 2020."
The county reported its fifth positive test for a detainee at the 88-bed facility on Thursday (Oct. 22), following three on Oct. 15 and its first on Oct. 13. All five have since been released, with one taken to Holy Cross Medical Center for treatment but whose current admission status remains unknown.
While detention center staff had previously only undergone testing for the virus "periodically," that string of five positives this month prompted the county to test more frequently. Arrambide said testing will continue for detainees, staff and contractors who work with the jail on Monday (Oct. 26).
The New Mexico Department of Health has reported hundreds of cases at federal and state facilities since the pandemic reached New Mexico earlier this year. The department does not keep a separate tally for jails like Taos County's, however. Nora Sackett, a public information officer who assists in daily updates on new cases tracked by the New Mexico Department of Health, said cases at municipal facilities are instead added to the case counts of the counties they serve.
The cases reported at the jail this month would then comprise around 13 percent of the 47 new cases recorded in Taos County since Oct. 11. Twenty new cases were reported on Friday and Saturday alone for Taos County, pushing its total to 201.