ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – It’s more than a month ago that the state stopped providing weekly COVID-19 updates, but the pandemic is still here. KRQE went one-on-one with the acting secretary of the New Mexico Department of Transportation to see where the booth stands.
Dr. David Scrase generally said he is happy with where New Mexico is in terms of COVID cases and the ongoing pandemic.
“Right now we’re feeling really good,” said Dr. Scrase. He said the state has an average of about 160 new COVID cases a day and hospital admissions remain low.
“Only 41 people in the hospital yesterday with COVID and only two people in a ventilator, which is really a low level, you have to take a few years back to get that low,” he said. The number of deaths also remains low.
The state monitors the BA-2 subvariant, which is linked to omicron. Dr. Scrase said it is too early to know if it is more contagious or serious, but so far vaccines are still holding up.
“BA-2, again, we are a little early to know about the effectiveness of the vaccine, but early data suggested that it may still actually prevent hospitalizations and death in some of the new variants,” said Dr. Scrase. That’s part of the reason the state is still encouraging people to get their booster shots. So far, only 46.6% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have received the booster.
“I would love to see more people boosted,” said Dr. Scrase. “Over time, the more people who get boosted, the more immune we will all be to COVID.” He said companies are working on updated vaccines for newer variants, but he stresses that the current ones are still helping.
“Clear, dramatic difference between just getting the primary series or the primary series plus a booster in hospitalizations and deaths,” he said. When mask mandates were dropped on public transportation, KRQE asked Dr. Scrase about his advice to new Mexicans.
“I’m probably going to wear a mask, and I also think people who want to avoid getting COVID should do the same,” he said. KRQE also asked if they would consider new rules at New Mexico’s airports and bus stations for mask wear, Dr. Scrase right now, it’s not something the state is looking to get involved in.