ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With a spike in new COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, New Mexico’s top hospitals addressed the latest trends of the virus in a news conference Tuesday.

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The news conference marks the first time doctors and leaders from the state’s largest hospitals have addressed the public about COVID-19 in a collaborative news conference since March 2021. During the height of the pandemic from December through January 2020, hospitals were holding weekly news conferences to discuss the latest trends the virus was taking.

State data shows New Mexico has seen an increase in the average number of new COVID-19 cases since early July 2021. At the start of July, the 7-day average indicated the state was seeing about 64 new COVID-19 cases per day. As of August 6, the state’s 7-day indicated roughly 367 new COVID-19 cases per day.

The state has also gradually seen a rise in hospitalizations, as typically, hospitalizations peak roughly two weeks after a peak in cases. As of August 6, 216 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Mexico. On July 6, 2021, only 62 people were in New Mexico hospitals with COVID-19, the lowest numbers since September 2020.

During the Tuesday news conference, several experts talked, including UNM Hospital Chief Quality & Safety Officer Dr. Rohini McKee, Presbyterian Healthcare Services Medical Director Dr. Denise Gonzales, Lovelace Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vesta Sandoval and TriCore Reference Laboratories Medical Director of Infectious Disease Dr. Karissa Culbreath.