Daily reported cases of COVID-19 continued to rise in New Mexico, with 1,117 reported in the week between April 18 and 25, according to weekly reports from the state Department of Health.
That was an increase from 979 the week before, following a trend of more reported cases week over week during April.
Health officials have acknowledged that daily cases more than ever underscore the true number of cases, as New Mexico is more dependent on home tests rather than laboratory-confirmed tests reported to the Department of Health.
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An increase in infections had been expected as the BA.2 subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is now associated with more than 68 percent of current cases nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another descendant of the highly contagious omicron variant, BA.2.12.1, now accounts for 28.7 percent of these U.S. cases; and in South Africa the subvariants are BA.4 and BA.5 associated with new increases in cases there.
Health authorities have prioritized hospitalizations and deaths over daily cases and test positivity.
On Thursday, the health department reported 39 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, three of whom needed ventilators. Earlier in April, the Department of Health said some hospitals in New Mexico remained full, but not with COVID-19 patients.
State Acting Minister of Health Dr. David Scrase said the current “run on hospital beds” was for patients with chronic conditions or diseases who were diagnosed late in 2020 and 2021, which was attributed to the pandemic.
The official death toll from COVID-19 on Thursday was 7,484 and included 19 new deaths reported that day. While the cure rate of COVID-19 has always been high, the disease also had a high mortality rate compared to influenza (with which COVID-19 shares many common symptoms) of 1.43 percent.
Vaccinations continued to show efficacy against serious illness and mortality, showing that patients who had not completed a primary vaccine series accounted for 58 percent of cases since February, 75.7 percent of admissions, and 79 percent of deaths.
A majority of New Mexico adults have completed a vaccine course with at least one booster, per data from the National Board of Health: 68.2 percent pr. April 25, while at least 80 percent have completed a course with Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
And 7 percent, more than 78,000 people, have received another booster dose, available to people over 50 or who are immunocompromised.
Nearly 270,000 new Mexicans aged 65 and over, consisting of 82.6 percent of this cohort, were fully vaccinated with one booster, and 55,000 of them had taken another.
Among minors, 62 percent of those between 12 and 17 had completed a vaccine series, while more than 43 percent had taken a booster. Among the age group of 5 to 11 years, for whom boosters are not available, 32.5 percent had completed a series.