Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
As predicted, weekly COVID-19 case numbers in New Mexico have increased by 48% over the past two weeks, according to epidemiological reports from the state Department of Health.
But hospital admissions remain low compared to rates at the start of the pandemic.
New Mexico reported 1,117 new cases in the week ended April 25, according to the latest report. That was up from 979 new cases in the week of April 18 and 753 cases in the week before.
The state also reported nine new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the statewide death toll to 7,465 since the pandemic began.
As of Wednesday, 49 people with COVID were in hospitals across the state.
The Acting Secretary of Health for New Mexico, Dr. David Scrase, last week predicted that New Mexico would see an increase in cases in late April or early May.
The increase is attributed to subvariant BA.2, which recently led to an increase in coastal case numbers. It’s a subvariant of the Omicron variant that led to record high case numbers of more than 5,000 and 6,000 new cases per day as it sped through New Mexico in January.
Though he predicts cases to rise, Scrase told the Journal that the advent of more antiviral pills, which have been shown to help ward off serious illnesses, could ease the brunt of the subvariant’s arrival in the state.
Weekly hospitalizations for COVID have increased to 31 from 25 the week ended April 11 to 30 the week after.
Vaccines have proven effective in preventing serious diseases. In the last four weeks, unvaccinated people accounted for 39.1% of new cases, 55.7% of hospitalizations and 45.5% of deaths.
And this despite the fact that the majority of adults are vaccinated. A state dashboard shows that four out of five New Mexicans ages 18 and older have completed their first vaccination course.