COVID-19

Cluster of coronavirus cases in Taos spans generations

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Six new patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus on the same day late last month all live in Taos, and show a generational spread – from a child to a senior.

Two of the samples in the cluster were collected on Monday (May 26) from a man in his 60s and another man in his 20s, according to an update provided this week by Bill Patten, the chief executive officer at Holy Cross Medical Center. The four others that tested positive were all collected on May 28 from one woman in her 50s, one in her 30s, a third in her 20s and a boy under age 10.

All samples were collected by the local hospital and were among a batch of 17 that initially all tested positive on Friday (May 29), but 10 of those proved to be false positives, Patten said this week. One of the specimens remains in question.

As to whether there is any relationship among the six patients who did test positive or how the cluster of infections occurred, in spite of continued mandates to wear masks and practice social distancing, Patten said he could not comment due to patient privacy restrictions.

"It would be fairly easy for folks to figure out who is who," he added. "We understand the desire of the community to want to know, but we have to balance that with the privacy of the patients."

He said that all hospital personel who came into contact with the patients were equipped with  the proper personal protective equipment, and so have not been placed on quarantine themselves. To date, Patten said no one on staff at Holy Cross has tested positive for the virus.

Spokespeople at the New Mexico Department of Health have said the state will be conducting contact tracing for all positive cases.

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