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Analysis: NM’s virus cases hit a plateau

In this file photo, Yesenia Hinojos, 24, receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Manuel Mandel at First Nations Community Healthsource Clinic in southeast Albuquerque on March 31. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Coronavirus cases in New Mexico have reached a plateau while deaths are slowly declining, according to new statistical modeling released Tuesday.

The reports – one issued by Los Alamos National Laboratory, the other by the state Department of Health – flagged some case increases in northwestern New Mexico, however, where San Juan County has seen an uptick in infections.

But overall, the number of new cases detected each day has hovered just above the state’s target of 210 or fewer, averaging about 233 cases. Deaths are falling slowly.

The Los Alamos report notes the new vaccination rate in New Mexico has “slowed dramatically” and that expanding the vaccines to youngsters 12 or older is “likely important” to the state’s outlook.

To that end, the Department of Health is urging parents to register children ages 12 to 15 for eventual access to coronavirus vaccines when shots are approved for lower age groups. They are already available for people 16 and older.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 and up next week, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year.

Through Tuesday, about 59% of adults in New Mexico had received at least one shot and 45% were fully vaccinated.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said last week that New Mexico is on track to reach 60% of people fully vaccinated by the end of June, a standard that would prompt the state to lift capacity restrictions on businesses.

In its daily update Tuesday, the Department of Health reported:

• 219 more COVID-19 cases in New Mexico, 93 of which were in Bernalillo County, the state’s most populous county.

• 10 more virus-related deaths, pushing the statewide death toll to 4,083 residents. The latest fatalities were adults ranging in age from their 30s to their 90s.

The deaths included three adults in Doña Ana County, three in Lea County, two in Curry and one each in San Juan and Valencia counties.

• 138 coronavirus patients in state hospitals, roughly in line with the last few days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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