Thanksgiving Day health tip: Test before getting together for turkey - Albuquerque Journal

Thanksgiving Day health tip: Test before getting together for turkey

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico health officials are recommending that people take steps to avoid getting sick over Thanksgiving – such as testing before turkey.

There are several viruses spreading in New Mexico – COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV – which are more dangerous for very young children, elderly adults and people with pre-existing conditions.

“People can take simple steps to avoid exposure as we all look forward to gathering with friends and family this holiday season,” said Dr. David Scrase, the acting Department of Health Cabinet secretary. “I encourage all New Mexicans to embrace common sense measures we know are effective at reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses.”

Some of the tips that health officials are recommending include staying up-to-date on vaccinations, taking a COVID test before attending a large gathering, wearing a mask when traveling and staying home if you are sick. That’s in addition to things like washing hands, regularly cleaning surfaces and covering coughs and sneezes.

Following that advice is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who tested positive for COVID on Wednesday. In a news release, the Governor’s Office said she is isolating at the governor’s residence and will skip her family’s Thanksgiving festivities.

Scrase said last week that he projects New Mexico to be about midway through its latest surge of COVID cases.

The state reported 4,791 new COVID cases during the seven-day period ending Nov. 21. That was an 11% increase from the week before. During the same time period, 146 people with COVID were admitted to hospitals, a 9% increase from the week before.

New Mexico reported four deaths on Wednesday, pushing the statewide toll to 8,702 since the start of the pandemic. There were 235 people with COVID in hospitals throughout the state on Wednesday.

During a recent four-week period, 21 people who died of COVID were vaccinated and 11 were unvaccinated. Vaccinated people are a much larger portion of the population – 80% of New Mexico adults over 18 are vaccinated and nearly 98% of those over 65 have at least completed their primary series of the vaccine, according to the DOH’s website.

In addition to COVID, physicians at local children’s hospitals said they are operating above capacity because of the large number of young children who are sick with the viruses, particularly RSV.

At the University of New Mexico hospitals, officials have opened new hospital space to accommodate sick children.

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