ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been about three weeks since New Mexico reopened, so where does New Mexico stand in the pandemic?
“New Mexico is, is in pretty good shape now compared to where we were a year ago,” said David Morgan, a spokesperson with the New Mexico Department of Health. “Think of where we were last year without a vaccine when we had you know, the economy largely shut down, we were desperately trying to protect the hospital system in New Mexico from being overwhelmed or overflowing with patients. And now with vaccines in place, we have the economy open, we still though however need more people to be vaccinated.”
New Mexicans also feel good about where the state is in the pandemic. “I like to just go out with my family and just kind of enjoy the reopening. It’s good to see the state on the up and up and I just hope it continues to go on the up and up,” said one Albuquerque resident.
“I’ve seen the whole state and it’s been nice not to have the masks on everywhere, so that’s been nice. But, it’s also kind of sad to drive around and see all the closed restaurants and see that they haven’t come back yet,” said Cody Bakewell, a Las Cruces resident.
While in ‘good’ shape, COVID-19 cases in New Mexico are starting to rise. Since the July 1 reopening, the state’s 7-day average positivity rate has jumped from about two percent to almost four percent.
In the past month, Bernalillo County saw the biggest increase with 948 new cases, though it is the most populous county. That’s followed by Dona Ana County, which saw 246 new cases in the last month. Harding, Catron and De Baca Counties haven’t had any new COVID-19 cases in the past month.
The state’s latest epidemiology report shows from July 12-July 18, San Miguel, Hidalgo and Eddy Counties had the largest case rate per 100,000 people. The state said this could be tied to vaccines.
“Eddy County for example has some cause for concern right now. Because they are seeing an increase in COVID cases in their county that has a lot to do with the fact that they are one of the least vaccinated counties in the state,” said Morgan. According to the state’s vaccine dashboard, Eddy County is about 40% vaccinated. Though about 54% of Hidalgo and 59% of San Miguel Counties are fully vaccinated.
“Right now, this pandemic as it currently stands is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Morgan. The DOH is continuing to urge all New Mexicans to get vaccinated and is focusing its efforts on getting folks 12-24 vaccinated.