New Mexico has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and is expecting the trend to continue for the near future, Dr. Laura Parajon, the acting state epidemiologist and deputy health secretary, said in an interview.
The state reported 643 new cases in the week prior to Aug. 14. That was up from 268 cases in a week in mid-July and 281 cases in a week in mid-June. The state has cut back on how frequently it reports cases and hospitalizations but continues to release data every month on its website.
Parajon said those numbers are not a complete representation of cases because so many at-home tests are being used.
“You have more cases, and then you’ll have more hospitalizations,” she said. “So we’re seeing just a little uptick in that.”
Also on Aug. 14, the state reported 25 people with COVID had been hospitalized in the previous week. That was up from three in the July report and zero in the June report, according to the Health Department’s website.
Because of the increase in cases, Parajon said she would recommend adults over 65 or people with health conditions consider getting a booster or talking to their provider.
For other adults, she recommended perhaps waiting for an additional shot. An updated booster shot — which is designed to better shield against the current variants in circulation — is expected to be ready sometime in September.
“We are encouraging people … to get that updated feature when it comes down,” she said.
There is no longer any requirement for schools to report cases to the state or take measures, such as remote learning or requiring masks, if there is an outbreak at school, Parajon said.
“We’re in a much different place now than we were before,” she said. “In-person learning is so good for the children. And we’re just recommending people get vaccinated.”
The state no longer regularly reports how many COVID-related deaths there are in the state. The last report, on April 11, put the statewide death toll at 9,150 since the start of the pandemic. Parajon said the state is still tracking that information.