October 25, 2021

State crosses 5,000 COVID-19 deaths

State health officials announced on Monday that New Mexico reached 5,000 COVID-19 related deaths.

The news on Monday came as the state announced 15 additional deaths related to COVID-19 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, for a total of 5,002 COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March of last year.

“These aren’t just numbers – they are our family members, friends, and neighbors, and we grieve for them and their families,” New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. David Scrase said. 

According to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker, New Mexico has the 20th-highest number of COVID-19 deaths per capita, with 238 per 100,000 residents.

The state’s latest mortality update, from last week, showed that over 2,200 deaths were among those 75 or older, nearly 1,200 among those 65-74 and over 1,200 among those 45-64. The mortality update, along with other epidemiological reports, are usually released in the middle of the week.

The DOH announcement on Monday noted that deaths are largely among those who were unvaccinated. Of the 1,039 reported deaths between Feb. 1 and Oct. 11, 967 were unvaccinated.

 “This means that nearly 1,000 people in New Mexico have died who didn’t need to die. If every eligible New Mexican got vaccinated, we could put an end to this pandemic,” Scrase said.

As of Monday, 81.8 percent of New Mexicans age 18 or older received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 72.2 percent were fully vaccinated. Another 8 percent received their booster shot. Booster shots have been available for those with Pfizer since late September.

The Federal Drug Administration approved booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines last week.

As of Monday, the state had also reported 271,212 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 remained high, at 339 individuals in Monday’s update. While this is lower than the peak of the pandemic in New Mexico, hospitals’ resources have been strained by a lack of personnel as well as more patients needing care for delayed care during the pandemic.