Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The number of individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19 increased Friday, even as the state’s rolling average of new cases hit its lowest level in a month.
State health officials announced 1,463 new virus cases statewide, bringing the state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases per day to 1,564, according to a Journal analysis.
New Mexico had been averaging more than 2,600 new cases daily at the peak of a spike in cases late last month, prompting Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration to impose a two-week lockdown order that required many businesses to temporarily close.
The explosion of cases has also led to elevated virus-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Health officials reported 31 additional deaths Friday, bringing the state’s death toll from COVID-19 to 2,128 since the pandemic started in March.
In addition, there were 889 people hospitalized Friday due to the virus – up from 852 individuals hospitalized a day earlier.
The increase in hospitalizations comes as the Lujan Grisham administration this week announced all 33 New Mexico counties will fall under the state’s highest-risk red level for business restrictions through Dec. 30.
Meanwhile, New Mexico will also be getting a smaller shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine next week than previously thought.
Specifically, the state will be receiving 12,675 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next – down from the 17,550 doses it got in its initial shipment this week, said Lujan Grisham spokesman Matt Nerzig.
The governor had previously said state officials expected to get another shipment roughly equal to or bigger than the first one, and the shipment will end up being roughly 30% smaller than had been projected, Nerzig said.
He said he did not know the reasons for the smaller-than-expected shipment, but several other states have also indicated they had been told to expect far fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Like the initial Pfizer vaccine shipment, next week’s shipment will be dedicated largely to the front-line health care workers most at risk of contracting COVID-19.
A separate coronavirus vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, will start arriving in New Mexico soon and will be targeted at residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.