NM COVID-19 Cases Plateau as Hospitals Remain Full

DOH reports 838 new cases and 10 additional deaths

New Mexico’s COVID-19 cases have plateaued and hospitals remain overly full, health officials said today during a weekly pandemic update.

“It’s pretty much a flat line,” Acting Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase said about the current case curve, indicated below, “and that’s a big problem for New Mexico.”

"New Mexico COVID-19 cases by date of specimen collection. Oct. 5, 2021" NMDOH, 10.6.21

New Mexico health officials today reported 838 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 256,947. DOH has designated 227,898 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 214 new cases, followed by San Juan County with 71 and Sandoval County with 65. Santa Fe County had 22 new cases. Currently, county-level transmission remains high, with only De Baca and Los Alamos counties in the “significant” versus “high” category for transmission.

Slide "Level of community transmission of COVID-19 remains high in most counties." NMDOH 10.9.21

The state’s test positivity rate also has exceeded the state target of 7.5%, with Scrase noting that when the state is “above the green line [in the chart below] we don’t really feel confident we have a handle on all the cases here in New Mexico.”

Slide, "New Mexico test positivity 7-day rolling average March 17, 2021-October 4, 2021." NMDOH, 10.6.21

Hospitals also remain teetering between contingency and crisis care standards, with very low bed availability. For instance, as of yesterday morning, there were only 17 ICU beds and 67 regular beds available statewide for all patients, Scrase said. As of today, 336 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

“The fact that this is going on at this level has become incredibly stressful,” Scrase said. “Our hospital personnel are incredibly exhausted, discouraged and frustrated, frankly, that they are now managing a pandemic and working extra shifts and endangering their own health for what has become a preventable illness.”

Slide, "NM Hospital Systems Capacity Self-Evaluation." NMDOH 10.6.21

That “preventability” hinges on vaccination, with health officials continuing to stress the protections provided by COVID-19 vaccines, as 77% of cases, 85.7% of hospitals and 91.5% of deaths over the last month have been among the unvaccinated.

Deaths also remain high, with the state announcing 10 additional deaths, nine of them recent, bringing the total number of fatalities statewide to 4,840.

Slide, "Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent hospitalization or death." NMDOH, 10.6.21

Currently, 80.4% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 71.1% are fully vaccinated. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 64.4% people have had at least one dose and 61.5% are fully inoculated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 91.3% have had at least one dose and 81.3% are fully vaccinated. In addition, increasing numbers of New Mexicans have been availing themselves of additional doses (if immunocompromised) and boosters, if they received the Pfizer vaccine.

Slide, "NM booster data." NMDOH 10.6.21

Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Laura Parajón said this month will be a busy one for vaccination, with federal regulators slated to hear an emergency use authorization request from Pfizer/BioNTech for children aged 5-12, as well as requests for boosters for the Moderna and J J vaccines.

Slide, "October vaccine updates." NMDOH, 10.6.21

Boosters currently remain available to specific groups of people, and DOH has an online tool where people can determine if they are eligible.

National data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows growing numbers of parents appear to be willing to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 when it becomes available. Parajón said if approved, the vaccine would likely become available in early November, would require less refrigeration and would arrive in smaller doses, making it feasible for family practitioners to provide.

Slide, "Willingness of parents to vaccinate their children." NMDOH, 10.6.21

Still, as the pandemic wears on (today was day 575), Scrase acknowledged prior predictions about the “end” of the pandemic had thus far not materialized. “Had it not been for the Delta virus mutation, we might be in a completely different place right now,” he said, “but the trouble is the virus is fighting us, it mutates, it evades either treatments or vaccines or other things over time and so we have to keep up the fight.”

The current health order is set to expire Oct. 15 and Scrase said he didn’t “have a preview of coming attractions,” but said given the potency of COVID-19 vaccines as a tool against infections, “it would take an awful lot of other things added up to get even halfway there.” Rather than considering additional mandates, he said, “What we need to do is figure out longer term solutions to manage this pandemic, things we can live with for a year or two or three.”

Keeping schools open for in-person learning and revitalizing the state’s workforce and economy amid an ongoing pandemic remain top priorities, officials have said, with New Mexico Department Workforce Solutions Acting Secretary Ricky Serna providing an update today on the progress for the latter. The state’s unemployment rate remains higher than that of the US.

Slide, "Unemployment rate by NM county." NMDOH, 10.6.21

The state has seen a steady decline of New Mexicans receiving unemployment benefits, as the chart below notes, he said, though he noted there is not a direct correlation between the state’s unemployment rate and that of claimants, due to the expiration in August and September of some federal benefits.

The state continues to see increasing numbers of jobs—particularly in health care—and to focus on its Ready New Mexico initiative, which provides training and other job matching services. Overall, Serna said, Workforce Solutions is monitoring job-related trends, not just geographically, but also demographically, “that might suggest we need to provide additional services.” In addition, he said the department is working with other state agencies, such as the Tourism Department. “It has been a major priority to really focus on helping tourism and hospitality related employers.”

Overall, he noted, “New Mexico traditionally struggles with economic downturn recovery and that has a lot to do with our industry mix and the need to diversify.…We’ve got some work to do [and] I think there’s going to be time period where we see how pandemic affected economic downturn compared to other recessions.”

Slide, "Online job postings, August 2021." NMDOH 10.6.21

“I would just say that, most of us have a health care worker in our extended family or living on our street,” Scrase said in closing today. “You saw the number of job openings and health care is a big labor market. We really want those younger people to stay in their roles; we want those older people to stay in their roles. They really need your support today and every day until we can empty out some of those hospital beds and make room for you and me and all of those other family members…please, think about that, think about your own health, think about what you can do today whether it’s getting a vaccine, wearing a mask, whatever it takes.”

New cases

  • 214 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 1 new case in Catron County
  • 29 new cases in Chaves County
  • 13 new cases in Cibola County
  • 12 new cases in Colfax County
  • 8 new cases in Curry County
  • 2 new cases in De Baca County
  • 53 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 28 new cases in Eddy County
  • 24 new cases in Grant County
  • 1 new case in Guadalupe County
  • 5 new cases in Hidalgo County
  • 41 new cases in Lea County
  • 25 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 3 new cases in Los Alamos County
  • 8 new cases in Luna County
  • 52 new cases in McKinley County
  • 4 new cases in Mora County
  • 37 new cases in Otero County
  • 12 new cases in Quay County
  • 14 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 4 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 65 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 71 new cases in San Juan County
  • 13 new cases in San Miguel County
  • 22 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 5 new cases in Sierra County
  • 8 new cases in Socorro County
  • 2 new cases in Taos County
  • 5 new cases in Torrance County
  • 2 new cases in Union County
  • 51 new cases in Valencia County
  • 4 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County

New fatalities

  • A female in her 50s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 60s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized
  • A female in her 80s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 30s from Eddy County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 50s from Eddy County who was hospitalized
  • A female in her 80s from Eddy County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 60s from Lea County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 50s from McKinley County who was hospitalized
  • A female in her 40s from San Juan County who had underlying conditions

Newly reported fatalities more than 30 days old

  • A male in his 60s from Otero County who was hospitalized

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
  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
  • All Care Assisted Living in Clovis
  • Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Artesia
  • Autumn Blessings Assisted Living in Logan
  • Avamere in Roswell
  • Aztec Healthcare in Aztec
  • BeeHive Homes Farmington
  • BeeHive Homes of Four Hills in Albuquerque
  • BeeHive Homes Santa Fe
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation in Bloomfield
  • Brookdale Valencia in Albuquerque
  • Casa Arena Blanca Nursing Center in Alamogordo
  • Casa de Oro in Las Cruces
  • Casa Maria Health Care Center in Roswell
  • Casa Real in Santa Fe
  • Cedar Ridge Inn in Farmington
  • Clayton Nursing and Rehabilitation in Clayton
  • Clovis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Colfax Long-Term Care Center in Springer
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Elmcroft of Quintessence in Albuquerque
  • Genesis Healthcare Uptown in Albuquerque
  • Genesis San Juan Center in Farmington
  • Good Life Senior Living in Hobbs
  • Good Life Senior Living in Lovington
  • Good Life Senior Living in Ruidoso
  • Good Samaritan Society – Manzano del Sol Village in Albuquerque
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • Landmark at Desert Gardens in Hobbs
  • La Vida Llena Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • Life Care Center in Farmington
  • Lovington Healthcare in Lovington
  • The Meadows Home at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • MorningStar Assisted Living and Memory Care of Albuquerque
  • MorningStar Memory Care at North Ridge in Albuquerque
  • The Neighborhood Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Odelia Healthcare (Camino Healthcare) in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ravenna Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup
  • The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • The Retreat Healthcare in Rio Rancho
  • The Rio at Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • Sandia Senior Suites in Albuquerque
  • Santa Fe Care Center in Santa Fe
  • Seniorcare LLC - Raven House in Albuquerque
  • Sierra Health Care Center in Truth or Consequences
  • Sierra Hills Assisted Living in Truth or Consequences
  • Sierra Vista Retirement Community in Santa Fe
  • Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque
  • Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites in Albuquerque
  • The Suites at Rio Vista in Rio Rancho
  • Sunny Day Assisted Living in Gallup
  • Sunshine Assisted Living in Tucumcari
  • Vida Encantada Nursing & Rehabilitation in Las Vegas
  • Village at Northrise in Las Cruces
  • Wheatfields Senior Living Community in Clovis
  • 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.

  • Bernalillo County: 72,317
  • Catron County: 147
  • Chaves County: 12,109
  • Cibola County: 3,389
  • Colfax County: 1,189
  • Curry County: 7,143
  • De Baca County: 223
  • Doña Ana County: 28,856
  • Eddy County: 10,461
  • Grant County: 2,148
  • Guadalupe County: 594
  • Harding County: 27
  • Hidalgo County: 546
  • Lea County: 13,169
  • Lincoln County: 2,717
  • Los Alamos County: 686
  • Luna County: 3,819
  • McKinley County: 14,107
  • Mora County: 317
  • Otero County: 5,760
  • Quay County: 960
  • Rio Arriba County: 4,562
  • Roosevelt County: 2,601
  • Sandoval County: 15,120
  • San Juan County: 18,946
  • San Miguel County: 2,431
  • Santa Fe County: 12,527
  • Sierra County: 979
  • Socorro County: 1,613
  • Taos County: 2,256
  • Torrance County: 1,299
  • Union County: 329
  • Valencia County: 8,702

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 455
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 530
  • Otero County Processing Center: 535
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 349

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

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 321
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 256
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 762
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 172
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 130
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 473
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 224
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 229
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 235
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 76

*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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