Scrase: 'Unvaccinated individuals' fueling virus - Albuquerque Journal

Scrase: ‘Unvaccinated individuals’ fueling virus

University of New Mexico Hospital in 2020. It’s one of several hospitals in the state that have enacted crisis standards of care. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations both ticked up on Thursday, with the state reporting 1,626 new cases, which was nearly 200 more from the day before.

The state also reported 14 additional deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 5,459. Those whose deaths were reported on Thursday ranged in age from a McKinley County man in his 20s to a Bernalillo County woman in her 90s. Three of the dead were residents of senior-living facilities.

There were 716 COVID hospitalizations around the state compared with 687 the day before. Those are the highest number of cases in New Mexico hospitals since early January, when vaccines weren’t widely available. Of the new cases reported, Bernalillo County had the most with 493.

Vaccinated people made up about 14.3% of the deaths during a four-week period that ended this week, according to Department of Health officials.

“The fuel for this fire … is unvaccinated individuals,” Acting Health Secretary David Scrase said during a media briefing this week.

Nearly 75% of New Mexico adults are fully vaccinated and 26% have had a booster shot, according to the Health Department’s website. New Mexico’s seven-day test positivity rate was 12.6%.

The cases and test rate reported by the state don’t include data from people who test themselves in their own home with over-the-counter COVID tests, which can be purchased at certain drug stores, said Christine Ross, the state epidemiologist.

“We want people to use these tests, we want people to have really easy access to testing, and we want to provide as much information as we can about how they need to act on that result,” Ross said.

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