NM coronavirus deaths hit highest total in months - Albuquerque Journal

NM coronavirus deaths hit highest total in months

In this Dec. 15 photo, a security guard monitors the temperature on one of the nine refrigerated morgues outside of the New Mexico Scientific Laboratories. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico reported 20 additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday – the largest single-day total in months.

Eighteen of the 20 deaths happened within the last 30 days, and two older fatalities were added to the state’s death toll after a delay in processing the death certificates.

It’s the largest daily death report since May, when the total jumped by 114 after an audit.

Before that, New Mexico hadn’t exceeded 20 deaths in a day since February, according to data published by The New York Times.

The increase comes as the state endures a late-summer surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.

Health officials said earlier this week that they were seeing signs that infections had reached a plateau and the disease wasn’t spreading as quickly.

But Friday’s case total – 885 new infections – was substantially higher than the recent daily average.

Health care officials have expressed concern about New Mexico’s hospital capacity as COVID-19 patients contribute to an already-high patient load due to other illnesses.

The fatalities reported Friday include adults ranging in age from their 40s to their 90s. Three were from Bernalillo County.

About 92% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths over the last four weeks have been individuals who weren’t fully vaccinated.

The state official COVID-19-related death toll stands at 4,605 residents.

More than 99% of the deaths classified as “related to COVID-19” have the disease listed as either a cause or contributor to the death on the person’s death certificate, according to a state epidemiology report. The remainder involve a positive coronavirus test but are pending on whether the disease will be listed on the death certificate.

The Department of Health on Friday also reported:

• 370 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in New Mexico, a 7% decrease from the day before.

• 885 new cases of the disease, including 20 among federal detainees and state inmates. It was the highest one-day total of new cases in a week.

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