Scrase: NM about halfway through latest COVID wave

Scrase: NM about halfway through latest COVID wave

University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal file)

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Mexico have increased over the past four weeks, and health officials predict the state is halfway through a new wave of the virus.

State health officials at a press conference on Thursday recommended people stay home if they are sick, keep up to date with their vaccinations and consider wearing a mask in crowded areas like airports to stay safe during Thanksgiving and the upcoming winter holidays.

New Mexico reported 4,318 new COVID cases and 134 hospital admissions in the seven-day period ending November 14, according to epidemiological reports from the Department of Health. This was up from 2,310 new cases and 96 admissions in the week ending October 24, marking an 86% increase in cases and a 39% increase in hospital admissions in about a month.

Acting Health Secretary Dr David Scrase said modeling based on a recent surge of COVID in England suggests the current surge will last about eight weeks, putting New Mexico at about mid- path. The peak in hospital admissions and deaths lags the peak in cases by a few weeks, he said.

“So we will see more hospitalizations,” he said. “And we will see more deaths, unfortunately.”

On Thursday, the state reported 818 new cases and three additional deaths, bringing the toll to 8,692 since the state’s first COVID case was confirmed nearly 1,000 days ago.

According to the DOH, 170 people with COVID have been hospitalized statewide.

As holiday gatherings approach, doctors have advised people to do their best to care for the most vulnerable members of their families, including the elderly. Dr Laura Parajón, deputy secretary of the Department of Health, recommended people take a rapid test before attending a large gathering.

COVID isn’t the only virus spreading in the state. Local hospitals are reporting that their pediatric units are operating above licensed capacity due to an outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The flu is also causing hospitalizations across the state.

“If you have older family members, they are the ones who are going to get sick from the flu, from COVID, from (RSV),” Parajón said. “So (take) care of our oldest people.”

Scrase advised people traveling on planes over Thanksgiving to wear a mask on the plane and at the airport.

“We know this is a difficult time and we will continue to work together,” said Dr. Anna Duran, associate medical director at the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital. “We will get there.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.