ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – The Eddy County Health Office and New Mexico Department of Health are increasing vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites across the county as the number of cases is rising in New Mexico, with the Delta variant quickly becoming the dominant variant.
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The New Mexico Department of Health says there’s been a 25% increase in the number of people getting vaccinations over the previous month throughout the state. Eddy County is seeing an increase in appointments for vaccines and tests and is now moving back to larger venues to administer them. The Eddy County Health Office is shifting its vaccine distribution to larger venues in Artesia and Carlsbad through the month of August to make it easier for people to get the shot.
Jimmy Masters, regional director of the South Eastern New Mexico Department of Health, says there is a consistent rise in COVID cases but not enough in people get the vaccine, and hopes this may help flip that. “So we are starting to see a rise in COVID positivity rise in cases and so this is where we’re going to have to use or utilize our resources the best we can in testing increased testing but also encourage vaccinating and continue to do so,” Masters said.
Eddy County has seen at least 50 new cases a day for the past week. A zip code in Carlsbad is one of the hot spots in the state for COVID. “We are seeing it a lot in the southeast region Eddy, Lea, Chaves regions some of our other counties in the southeast region,” says Masters.
Eddy County represents one of the state’s highest resurgences in COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 15.76%. Artesia General Hospital says it caring for a rising number of critically ill patients, and nearby healthcare facilities are exceeding capacity.
The two new locations for vaccine clinics in Eddy County are at Atresia’s Eddy County Public Health Office on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and in Carlsbad, at the Walter Gerrells performing arts center on Mondays and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Only 42% of residents in Eddy county are fully vaccinated which ranks as the fourth-worst county in the state. To register for the vaccine across the whole state, visit the NMDOH website.