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NM reports record high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations

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An EMT adjusts his mask while responding to a call in Northeast Albuquerque on Thursday. New Mexico is dealing with a spike in COVID-19 cases. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

More COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in New Mexico now than at any time in the pandemic, according to new numbers released Friday.

The state reported a total of 229 people hospitalized around the state for COVID-19, which tops the previous high of 223 from mid-May.

Hospitalizations have now more than tripled over the past month according to data on the state Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard.

Currently, 77% of New Mexico’s general hospital beds and 76% of the state’s ICU beds are occupied, though those numbers reflect both COVID-19 patients and those being treated for other conditions.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office said in a news release the hospitalization tally may include those now being treated in New Mexico after testing positive for COVID-19 in another state, but would not include anyone who tested positive in New Mexico and was transferred to an out-of-state hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office did not provide specific numbers of out-of-state patients, but said state officials do not attribute the rising hospitalization numbers to them as there is typically a near-equal number of New Mexicans transferred out of state for care.

“Hospitalizations are at a record high because COVID-19 is at record levels throughout New Mexico and record numbers of New Mexicans are becoming ill due to the virus,” Governor’s Office spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett said in an email.

Friday’s new COVID-19 case counts totaled 797, which is lower than the single-day record of 820 set Wednesday.

The seven-day new case average is now 629, slightly below the all-time high of 632 from earlier in the week. However, it has more than quadrupled in the past month.

Bernalillo County, the state’s most populous county, recorded the most new infections, with 197, followed by Doña Ana (130), Santa Fe (56) and Curry (54) counties.

The state on Friday also reported seven new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the state’s pandemic total to 960.

The fatalities included a Sandoval County man in his 70s, a Doña Ana County woman in her 60s and a Lincoln County man in his 60s – each of whom was hospitalized and had underlying health conditions. Three people who were not hospitalized, but had other health conditions also died: a San Juan County man in his 40s, and an Eddy County man and woman, each in their 70s. A Bernalillo County man in his 80s who was hospitalized, but had no reported underlying conditions also died.

The New Mexico Department of Health has deemed 20,655 COVID-19 cases as recovered.

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