Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
As predicted, weekly COVID-19 case counts in New Mexico have ticked up 48% in a recent two-week period, according to state Health Department epidemiology reports.
But hospitalizations remain low compared to rates earlier in the pandemic.
New Mexico reported 1,117 new cases the week ending April 25, according to the latest report. That was up from 979 new cases the week of April 18 and 753 cases the week before.
The state also reported nine new deaths on Wednesday, pushing the statewide toll to 7,465 since the start of the pandemic.
There were 49 people with COVID in hospitals throughout the state Wednesday.
New Mexico acting Department of Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase last week predicted New Mexico would start to see an increase in cases in late April or early May.
The rise is attributed to the BA.2 subvariant, which led a recent uptick in case counts on the coasts. It’s a subvariant of the omicron variant, which led to record-high case counts of more than 5,000 and 6,000 new cases per day when it ripped through New Mexico in January.
Though he is predicting a rise in cases, Scrase told the Journal that the emergence of more antiviral pills that are proving to help stave off severe disease may lessen the brunt of the subvariant’s arrival in the state.
Weekly hospital admissions for COVID have gone from 25 the week ending April 11, to 30 the week after, to 31.
Vaccines are proving to be effective at preventing severe disease. In a recent four-week period, unvaccinated individuals accounted for 39.1% of new cases, 55.7% of hospitalizations and 45.5% of deaths.
That’s despite the fact that the majority of adults are vaccinated. A state dashboard shows that four of every five New Mexicans 18 or older have completed their initial vaccine series.