NM sees a drop in COVID cases

Albuquerque-area clown Donna King, in her role as Dr. Cora Zón with a young patient at the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2023 Albuquerque Journal

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have declined in recent weeks, and the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital is below its licensed capacity for the first time in months.

The decline in respiratory diseases is good news for hospitals. Rooms for children in New Mexico hospitals have been in high demand since late October due to a surge in COVID, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.

dr UNM Children’s Hospital Chief Associate Medical Officer Anna Duran said the hospital was operating at about 85% to 90% of its approved capacity this week.

The hospital recently hosted a 14-person National Disaster Medical System team who were dispatched to help care for an influx of sick children.

“Things are definitely calming down,” Duran said. “From a capacity perspective, it’s nice to have some breathing room.”

There were still hospitals across the state that didn’t have any vacant cribs as of Thursday. But in all, according to the New Mexico Department of Health, there were 126 different types of beds for children.

Duran said hospital officials are monitoring human metapneumovirus, a common respiratory virus spreading in the state.

Meanwhile, the COVID cases are also declining.

In the week ended Jan. 16, the New Mexico Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,252 new COVID cases. During the same time, 73 people with COVID were admitted to hospitals across the state.

That meant a 47% drop in cases since the week ended December 19. A total of 113 people with COVID were admitted to hospitals in the week ended December 19.

New Mexico on Thursday reported five more COVID-related deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 8,907 since the pandemic began.

“New Mexico is seeing a downward trend in the number of cases, as determined by lab test results after the winter break,” Jodi McGinnis Porter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said in an email. “However, these case counts do not include home test results, for which we do not have data, and people with very mild cases of COVID-19 can refrain from testing.”