Some NM counties see high percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state saw the highest COVID-19 case count on Thursday since January and the highest hospitalizations since August. When you break it down by county and by population, Hidalgo County is seeing the highest percentage of hospitalizations followed by San Juan, Otero and Grant counties.

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COVID cases in San Juan, Grant, Otero, Lincoln, and Catron counties are the top five in the state but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with low versus high vaccinations numbers. While Bernalillo County has had the highest numbers overall, they aren’t when you factor in the population. Bernalillo County is actually the eighth from the bottom. Santa Fe is faring the best and Lea County, which had a major outbreak a few weeks ago, is now fourth best.

State health officials say the majority, more than 90% of those dying from COVID and more than 77% of those being hospitalized, are unvaccinated. KRQE News 13 asked what’s behind high numbers in highly vaccinated areas.

“There’s a bunch of different theories. One is that the immune protection afforded by the original vaccine isn’t quite as specific for delta as it was for the previous variants. The other thesis – New Mexico led the pack, the national pack in getting people vaccinated and the data about waning immunity are declining in antibodies – means if we were first in, in getting everyone vaccinated, we may be first out in terms of continued protection,” said Dr. David Scrase, acting secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health.

That’s why Dr. Scrase says it’s important for people to get boosters if they got a shot early on. Statewide, 9% of people have gotten boosters.

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