New Mexico Reports 968 New COVID-19 Cases

Hospital leaders urge vaccination as patient counts rise across the state

Medical leaders at the state’s largest hospitals said today they support and intend to enforce a new public health order that will require all hospital and congregate care employees to be fully vaccinated by Aug. 23.

Representatives from Presbyterian Healthcare Services, University of New Mexico Hospital and Lovelace all said during a morning news conference they don’t anticipate any challenges with the new order.

“We have a high rate of vaccinations to start with,” University of New Mexico Hospital Chief Quality & Safety Officer Dr. Rohini McKee said, “and that really should tell the public something, that the professionals who know the most about vaccines and how they were developed are the ones first in line to get the vaccination.”

Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center Director of Marketing and Communications Arturo Delgado tells SFR, via email, that thus far more than 90% of Christus’ “associates” have already been fully vaccinated. “As North Central New Mexico’s largest health care delivery system, [Christus] takes the safety of its Associates and its patients very seriously,” he writes.

Plenty of other challenges abound. The new order comes in response to rising COVID-19 cases and dwindling capacity at hospitals across the state, and is coupled with a new indoor mask mandate, effective tomorrow, for everyone regardless of vaccine status.

New Mexico health officials today reported 968 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 222,927. Today’s daily case count exceeds worst-case forecasts from Los Alamos National Laboratory, which modeled the state reaching close to 1,000 cases daily by the end of the month into September.

Bernalillo County had 199 new cases, followed by Lea County with 158 and Chaves County with 104.

New Mexico’s southeastern region remains particularly hard hit in terms of its average daily case rate, with Lea County holding the highest rate in the state, according to this week’s epidemiology report on geographic trends.

Santa Fe County had 21 new cases reported today. At Christus, Delgado says the hospital has 11 COVID-19 patients and has been experiencing an increase in its non-COVID patient population. “Our healthcare team continues to be nimble in caring for Santa Fe and North Central New Mexico to meet patient care demand,” he writes.

Presbyterian, UNM and Lovelace officials say they are seeing rising COVID-19 cases on top of existing patients with other conditions, with their facilities already 110% to 130% capacity.

As of today, 356 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

“As we look nationally, the rise in COVID is alarming,” Presbyterian Healthcare Services Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Mitchell said, citing national data that forecasts 1.4 million COVID-19 cases per week in the next three weeks, and noting that previously “the highest peak of the pandemic [in the US] so far was 1.7 million cases per week... We’re headed as a nation to the highest spike we’ve ever had.”

In New Mexico, he said, “we have an opportunity…to not have that happen to us here locally and that’s because we work together and we have vaccinations at higher rates.”

Currently, 75.4% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 66.1 % are fully vaccinated. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 55.9% people have had at least one dose and 43.1% are fully inoculated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 86.8% have had at least one dose and 76.6% are fully inoculated.

The doctors speaking this morning also reiterated they are seeking not just increasing numbers of patients, but ones who are overall younger and, largely, unvaccinated. Mitchell said 57% of the COVID patients are intubated, with Lovelace Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vesta Sandoval pointing out that once a patient is intubated “the prognosis is very grim.” According to DOH’s most recent COVID hospitalization report, 20.8% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have died since the start of the pandemic.

As for break-through cases—people contracting COVID-19 after being vaccinated—officials said they are seeing very few in the hospital. A DOH spokesman relays to SFR via state epidemiologists that thus far 0.36% of the more than 1.1 million New Mexicans who have been fully vaccinated have contracted COVID-19. Of those, according to a report on breakthrough cases provided to SFR, there were 202 hospitalizations, of which 69 were likely COVID-related, 104 probably weren’t and 29 remain unknown. There have been thus far 20 deaths among breakthrough cases, of which 13 were COVID-related.

“We are seeing a small percentage of patients who are vaccinated,” McKee said, “it is less than 10%, and they are not in the intensive care unit. If you are vaccinated, first of all there’s about a twenty-five-fold reduction in your chances of needing hospitalization and a twenty-five-fold reduction in the chance that you will die of COVID. We also know now if you do get COVID after vaccination, your duration of symptoms is shorter. You may get ill, but your duration of symptoms will be shorter and there is less chance that you will submit the virus.”

No vaccine is perfect, she added. “In the history of vaccines, there have always been breakthrough infections. But when you look at the reduced transmissibility and the reduced chance of needing a hospital bed, and you think about how transmissible this virus is and look at the good vaccines does for the community, it makes for a very compelling argument to go get vaccinated.”

The state also announced four additional deaths today, three recent and one from more than 30 days ago; there have now been 4,463 fatalities.

New cases

  • 199 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 2 new cases in Catron County
  • 104 new cases in Chaves County
  • 8 new cases in Cibola County
  • 9 new cases in Colfax County
  • 32 new cases in Curry County
  • 75 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 87 new cases in Eddy County
  • 4 new cases in Grant County
  • 5 new cases in Guadalupe County
  • 3 new cases in Hidalgo County
  • 158 new cases in Lea County
  • 20 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 2 new cases in Los Alamos County
  • 4 new cases in Luna County
  • 25 new cases in McKinley County
  • 8 new cases in Mora County
  • 26 new cases in Otero County
  • 4 new cases in Quay County
  • 10 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 21 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 29 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 40 new cases in San Juan County
  • 25 new cases in San Miguel County
  • 21 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 7 new cases in Sierra County
  • 4 new cases in Socorro County
  • 11 new cases in Taos County
  • 8 new cases in Torrance County
  • 17 new cases in Valencia County

New fatalities

  • A male in his 80s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 30s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 60s from Sandoval County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions

Newly reported fatality from more than 30 days ago

  • A male in his 70s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions (according to DOH, COVID deaths are only reported once a death certificate is issued, and some have been delayed due to insufficient information).

Congregate facilities

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at the following facilities:

  • Advanced Health Care in Albuquerque
  • Beehive Homes in Portales
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation in Bloomfield
  • The Bridge of Farmington in Farmington
  • Casa de Oro in Las Cruces
  • Casa Del Norte in Albuquerque
  • Casa Maria in Roswell
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Elmcroft of Quintessence in Albuquerque
  • Fairwinds Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care in Los Lunas
  • Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care in Artesia
  • Good Life Senior Living in Portales
  • Good Life Senior Living in Ruidoso
  • Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
  • Laguna Rainbow Care Center in Casa Blanca
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • Landmark at Desert Gardens in Hobbs
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • Miners Colfax Medical Center in Raton
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • MorningStar Assisted Living and Memory Care of Albuquerque
  • MorningStar Memory Care at Northridge in Albuquerque
  • MorningStar Assisted Living and Memory Care of facility of Rio Rancho
  • The Neighborhood Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Odelia Healthcare in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Silver Wings Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Sunset Vila Nursing Home in Roswell
  • The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque
  • The Rio at Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • The Watermark at Cherry Hills in Albuquerque
  • Vida Encantada Nursing & Rehabilitation in Las Vegas
  • White Sands Healthcare in Hobbs

Statewide cases

County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19. New Mexico has now had 222,927 cases; the health department has designated 199,170 of them as recovered.

  • Bernalillo County: 63,859
  • Catron County: 117
  • Chaves County: 9,992
  • Cibola County: 3,003
  • Colfax County: 875
  • Curry County: 5,838
  • De Baca County: 202
  • Doña Ana County: 26,296
  • Eddy County: 8,431
  • Grant County: 1,845
  • Guadalupe County: 504
  • Harding County: 13
  • Hidalgo County: 485
  • Lea County: 10,348
  • Lincoln County: 2,092
  • Los Alamos County: 593
  • Luna County: 3,529
  • McKinley County: 12,908
  • Mora County: 199
  • Otero County: 4,553
  • Quay County: 658
  • Rio Arriba County: 4,056
  • Roosevelt County: 2,262
  • Sandoval County: 13,230
  • San Juan County: 16,566
  • San Miguel County: 1,627
  • Santa Fe County: 11,298
  • Sierra County: 831
  • Socorro County: 1,396
  • Taos County: 1,870
  • Torrance County: 987
  • Union County: 273
  • Valencia County: 7,516

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 452
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 457
  • Otero County Processing Center: 436
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 334

Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 303
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 255
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 761
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 169
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 130
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 473
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 219
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 229
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 231
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 75

*Per the health department, hospitalization figures include people who were tested elsewhere but are hospitalized in New Mexico, but don’t include people who were tested here but are hospitalized out of state.

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