SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state is pushing for parents to get their kids vaccinated while giving an update on the outlook for COVID-19 hospitalizations among adults.
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The news conference comes as the state has resumed weekly updates on COVID-19 amid a growing number of cases throughout August. On Monday, the state reported 2,286 new cases across Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, August 28 through 30. That number is slightly higher than numbers from the prior weekend of August 21 through 23, when the state reported 2,201 new cases.
During the last briefing on August 25, the state’s acting Department of Health Secretary and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said New Mexico hospitals were just days away from “crisis standards of care.” That status often indicates hospitals are in the position of picking and choosing who needs care, as opposed to the traditional hospital practice of helping everyone who comes to the facility.
Wednesday’s news conference was lead by Dr. David Scrase. NMDOH Deputy Secretary Dr. Laura Parajón and NMDOH’s State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Ross were also present during the news conference.
Meanwhile, with the return to school in person, the test positivity rate for kids ages five to 17 is on the rise. Health officials said Wednesday they want to see more testing of school-aged kids. “We are working closely with PED on collecting better data to help us discern school-associated cases amongst children vs. kids getting infected outside school environment,” said Dr. Ross.
The only age group that has a higher infection rate right now are New Mexicans ages 18 to 34. Health officials do clarify that the state is not seeing a rise in hospitalizations among children which goes against the national trend. However, they do anticipate a rough couple of weeks coming up for hospitals based on recent COVID case counts.
With not much space as it is, they estimate the state could need 700 beds for COVID patients by next week but Dr. Scrase says data indicates that cases could level off soon. It shows that the state’s test positivity rate amid the recent surge is now at 7.6% down from mid-August.
“One death is too many deaths. We’re now seeing three or four some days and hopefully, the projections are they can go as high as 15 but hoping we can see that level off soon,” Dr. Scrase said.
The state continues urging people to get the vaccine and for people who are immunocompromised to get the additional third shot. To free up more COVID testing slots as more people are getting tested, the state is recommending the at-home Vault self-test or Curative tests for people who have to get regular testing either because they’re unvaccinated or work in a congregate setting.
Dr. Ross is urging parents to get their kids vaccinated especially kids who already had COVID. She says it is safe to get the vaccine even though it is rare to catch COVID twice.