ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been more than a month since the state stopped giving weekly COVID-19 updates, but the pandemic is still here. KRQE went one-on-one with Acting Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health to see where the state stands.

Dr. David Scrase said overall, he’s pleased with where New Mexico is in terms of COVID cases and the ongoing pandemic.

“Right now, we’re doing real well,” said Dr. Scrase. He said the state is averaging about 160 new COVID cases a day and hospitalizations are remaining low.

“Only 41 people in the hospital yesterday with COVID and only two people on a ventilator, which is really a low, you have to go back a couple years to get that low,” he said. The number of deaths is also staying low.

The state is monitoring the BA-2 subvariant which is linked to omicron. Dr. Scrase said it’s too early to know if it’s more infectious or severe, but so far vaccines are still holding up.

“BA-2, again, we’re a little early to know about vaccine effectiveness but early data suggested that it still can actually prevent hospitalizations and death in some of the new variants,” said Dr. Scrase. It’s part of the reason why the state is still encouraging people to get their booster shoots. So far, only 46.6% of New Mexicans 18 and older have gotten the booster.

“I would love to see more folks boosted,” said Dr. Scrase. “Over time the more people that get boosted, the more immune we’ll all be to COVID.” He said companies are working on updated vaccines for newer variants but he stresses the current ones still help.

“Clear, dramatic difference in just getting the primary series, or the primary series plus a booster in hospitalizations and deaths,” he said. With mask mandates being dropped on public transportation, KRQE asked Dr. Scrase for his advice to New Mexicans.

“I’m probably going to wear a mask and I also think that people who want to avoid getting COVID should do the same,” he said. KRQE also asked if they would consider new regulations at New Mexico’s airports and bus stations for mask wearing, Dr. Scrase said right now, that’s not something the state is looking to get involved with.