Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in New Mexico has fallen 26% over the past month, including a substantial drop in the past week.
The state reported 703 virus hospitalizations Monday, down from a peak of 947 in early December. The decline has been especially steep over the past week – with about 100 fewer patients in hospitals now than in the final days of 2020.
The falling hospitalizations come as the state Department of Health encourages New Mexicans to register online to be notified when they’re eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To preregister, visit cvvaccine.nmhealth.org.
More than 230,000 people have signed up in the past two weeks – more than one in 10 New Mexicans. State health officials say they believe the registration system is the only one of its kind in the country.
The site now allows New Mexicans to fill out a comprehensive profile with their medical conditions and employment information to help the state manage vaccine distribution.
“Our highest priorities remain the same: ensuring that vaccine goes to those who are most exposed to infected people or infectious materials, and preventing vaccine from going to waste,” Health Secretary-Designate Tracie Collins said in a news release.
Besides the improvement in hospitalizations, New Mexico’s latest COVID-19 trends are mixed.
The state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases climbed to 1,240 Monday, a 15% increase since Friday. The state reported 936 cases Monday.
The share of tests that come back positive has generally held steady at 12%, according to the state’s most recent figures.
New Mexico reported 23 more COVID-19 deaths Monday, pulling the state’s average down to 28 deaths a day over the past week. The victims announced Monday ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s, continuing the disease’s disproportionate toll on older adults.
The deaths included five people from Bernalillo County and five from McKinley County.
The statewide death toll now stands at 2,574 residents since March.
The fall in hospitalizations comes after hospital and health care leaders warned repeatedly about the strain on the state’s health care system amid an explosion in COVID-19 cases. At one point, they warned that health systems were on the brink of having to ration care.