NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – More than 500 days into the pandemic, New Mexico health officials gave an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 Wednesday, as new cases of the virus continue to increase in the state and across the U.S. Nationally, new COVID-19 cases have gone up by a factor of four since July 1, 2021.
Story continues below:
- Investigation: What happens after someone attacks a healthcare worker?
- Don’t Miss: New Mexico native recognized in Bon Appétit Magazine for Brooklyn restaurant
- Weird: Man once accused of having sex with horse now accused of escape from jail
- KRQE en Espanol: KRQE En Español: Jueves 23 de Septiembre 2021
- Crime: FBI investigates Albuquerque couple for bank robbery
The updates come as the state has adjusted its masking guidance in parallel with national recommendations from the CDC. Tuesday, the CDC recommended that everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, wear face coverings indoors. The change comes amid growing concern with the rise of the Delta variant, a far more contagious form of COVID-19 now estimated to account for roughly 75% of new cases in New Mexico. As a whole, the state had been averaging roughly 50 to 60 new COVID cases for several months.
“Now we’re up in the 240 (new cases per day) to 260 (range,) so a very similar ratio,” said Dr. David Scrase, speaking of the roughly quadrupling of daily cases seen nationally over the last several weeks. The now acting Department of Health Secretary and Human Services Department Secretary, Scrase highlighted a concerning similar rise in cases, comparing the rise in cases seen in September 2020 with the current rise in cases.
Story continues below
“I think we’re going to see more of an upslope soon,” Dr. Scrase said. “I don’t think it can go as high because this time we’ll have 64 to 72% of people with both or one shot, or fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated.”
The briefing coincides with the CDC releasing new mask guidelines. Dr. Scrase said Wednesday New Mexico’s latest public health order says “New Mexicans should do what the CDC says we should do.” The CDC’s masking guidelines recommend people should wear masks indoors even when fully vaccinated, in counties where COVID transmission is ‘substantial’ or ‘high.’ One indicator of that is the total number of new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days being 50 or higher. In New Mexico, that applies to 14 counties including Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Valencia counties in the metro area.
“Our recommendation is really the CDC guidelines, so that would be by county right now,” Dr. Scrase said. “I think out of an abundance of caution, everyone in New Mexico should follow those guidelines, I mean these curves are going up pretty steeply and whatever it is this week is going to be different next week and probably higher so, you know, New Mexico is small enough and Delta transmission is high enough that I think you’re not going to see those sharp distinctions for counties soon.”