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For the second day in a row, New Mexico set a record for new confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday as the omicron variant’s surge continued.
New Mexico also saw an increase in COVID hospitalizations. There were 712 people hospitalized throughout the state on Thursday, up from 626 the day before. That’s almost a 14% increase in a single day.
The Department of Health reported 24 new deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 6,229 since the onset of the pandemic. Those who died ranged in age from a man in his 30s from Colfax County to a man in his 90s from Bernalillo County, according to a Health Department news release.
Of the 6,010 new cases reported Thursday, 1,549 were in Bernalillo County. On Wednesday, 5,735 new cases were reported.
The state case counts also were about double what they were during New Mexico’s COVID peak in late 2020 before vaccines became widely available.
While case counts are at record highs, Dr. David Scrase, the acting health secretary, said this week that preliminary data indicates the omicron variant isn’t as deadly as prior strains of the virus. He said hospitalizations and deaths haven’t increased at the same rate that cases have, and fewer people in hospitals are on ventilators compared with earlier in the pandemic.
Scrase said state health officials are optimistic the new variant’s surge in New Mexico may peak late this month or early next month.
The number of confirmed cases don’t tell the whole story as at-home tests have become more commonplace and those results are often not included in confirmed case counts released by the state.
The seven-day positivity rate for COVID tests was 28.7% on Thursday, according to the Health Department.