FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – More medical help is coming to the San Juan Regional Medical Center after enacting crisis standards of care because of surging COVID-19 cases. Under the standards, the hospital will bring in around 70 extra staffers over the next few weeks and could soon start rationing resources.

“Second highest rate of spread of all the counties in New Mexico at 112 cases per 100,000 and that creates a circumstance where our hospital is extraordinarily full.ICU was at 129 percent of capacity as of earlier today, and our non-ICU adult beds were at 107 percent capacity,” said Jeff Bourgeois, president and CEO of San Juan Regional.

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At a news conference on Wednesday, Acting Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase called San Juan Regional one of the most stressed hospitals in the state. He says the state has seen challenges in moving rural patients to larger, more capable hospitals. “That hospital does not have the resources to provide intensive care, general medical care, emergency services for everybody coming in like they usually would. Plus, the safety valve we’ve traditionally had in New Mexico, at least during the pandemic, one giant ICU, there aren’t other places,” Dr. Scrase said.

In addition to a surge in cases, vaccination rates in parts of San Juan County remain low. Residents there received a health alert on their phones saying four zip codes in Farmington, Aztec and Bloomfield have very low vaccination rates.