Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico reported 969 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday – an improvement from recent days – and 11 additional deaths.
The state did see a slight uptick in hospitalizations Tuesday. There were 666 patients with COVID hospitalized throughout the state, up from 632 the day before, according to a Department of Health news release.
New Mexico reported nearly 3,800 new cases on Saturday, Sunday and Monday combined and the state had more than 2,000 cases per day late last week.
Of the new cases, Bernalillo County had the most with 341 and Sandoval County had the second-most with 108.
The 11 deaths bring the statewide toll to 5,430 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Of the deaths reported Tuesday, two were recent and nine were more than 30 days old. COVID-related deaths are reported based on death certificate information and sometimes those certificates are delayed.
The state's seven-day test positivity rate was at 13.6%, according to the health department.
The cases come as local leaders continue to debate vaccines and booster shot mandates for certain types of workers or people trying to access large venues.
University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes announced during a regents meeting Tuesday that the school will soon require its students and employees get a booster in order to stay in compliance with the school's vaccine mandate. UNM already requires students and employees be vaccinated, with limited exceptions.
A memo explaining the new policy was expected to be sent out to the campus community as soon as Wednesday, said a university spokeswoman.
Stokes has faced questioning recently by some regents and UNM medical experts because University Arena, more commonly referred to as the Pit, doesn't require that fans be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test in order to attend athletic events. But the same arena will require that attendees be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test in order to attend in-person commencement ceremonies, which have been scheduled for Dec. 16 and 17.
UNM has allowed specific campus groups to set their own practices regarding vaccine requirements. For example, Popejoy Hall does require guests show proof of vaccination or a negative test in order to attend a performance there.
Stokes said she'll continue to get feedback from trusted experts she assembled and she said policies could change in the future.
“I won't pretend that where we are today is where we'll be even a week from now as we evaluate the circumstances and the circumstances surrounding health and health care, and the economy, and everything else that goes into making these really tough decisions,” she said during the meeting.