There are several viruses circulating in New Mexico — COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV — that are more dangerous to very young children, older adults and people with pre-existing conditions.
“People can take simple steps to avoid exposure as we all look forward to gathering with friends and family this holiday season,” said Dr. David Scrase, Acting Health Cabinet Secretary. “I encourage all young Mexicans to embrace common sense measures that we know are effective in reducing the spread of respiratory disease.”
Some of the tips health officials recommend include staying up-to-date on vaccinations, getting a COVID test before attending a large gathering, wearing a mask when traveling and staying home if you’re sick. This is in addition to things like washing your hands, cleaning surfaces regularly and covering coughs and sneezes.
Scrase said last week that he projects New Mexico to be in the middle of the latest spike in COVID cases.
The state reported 4,791 new cases of COVID during the seven-day period ending Nov. 21. This was an 11% increase from the previous week. During the same time period, 146 people with COVID were hospitalized, a 9% increase from a week earlier.
New Mexico reported four deaths Wednesday, bringing the statewide toll to 8,702 since the pandemic began. There were 235 people with COVID in hospitals across the state on Wednesday.
During a recent four-week period, 21 people who died of COVID were vaccinated and 11 were unvaccinated. Vaccinated people are a much larger portion of the population — 80% of New Mexico adults over 18 are vaccinated and nearly 98% of those over 65 have completed at least their primary vaccine series, according to the website DOH website.
In addition to COVID, doctors at local children’s hospitals said they are operating at capacity because of the large number of young children who are sick with viruses, especially RSV.
At the University of New Mexico Hospitals, officials have opened new hospital space to accommodate sick children.