NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – COVID-19 cases continue to rise across New Mexico and with that, the number of hospitalizations is also going up, but one part of the state is seeing more hospitalizations than others, per capita. A recent epidemiology report shows hospitals in southern New Mexico are taking a larger hit.

“I just talked to the Regional Health Hospital there this morning, and they’re seeing much higher rates of ER visits starting to fill up,” said Dr. David Scrase, the secretary of Health and Human Services. “The transfer rates from Roswell, which is our hub hospital for the southeast, into Albuquerque has gone way up as well.”

A new map published in that recent epidemiology report shows the hospitalization rate per 100,000 people. According to the map, Lea, Eddy, and Chaves counties are seeing some of the highest hospitalization rates in the state. These are some of the least vaccinated counties. According to the state’s vaccine dashboard, only 42-percent of residents in Eddy County are fully vaccinated, and Lea and Chaves counties are barely ahead, both reporting 43-percent of their population have gotten both shots.

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Dr. Scrase says the numbers in southeast New Mexico could get much worse by September. “LANL is projecting that we could see over 1,000 cases per day, just in the southeastern part of the state alone,” said Dr. Scrase.

Lea Regional Medical Center says they currently have nine COVID patients in the hospital. KRQE News 13 asked if those patients are vaccinated, they said they did not have that information. Presbyterian Hospital says they had 22 COVID patients about three weeks ago. As of Tuesday, they are up to 90 people hospitalized with the virus statewide.