Leaders from New Mexico’s largest healthcare systems had a message for New Mexicans: Get vaccinated. During a press conference Tuesday, they discussed the current surge in cases, which they all described as largely among those who remain unvaccinated. “Evidence shows that COVID-19 is now really a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Presbyterian Healthcare Services Medical Director Dr. Denise Gonzales said. “In New Mexico, 93 percent of hospitalizations for COVID-19 are in the unvaccinated. In Presbyterian hospitals statewide, we’re experiencing a doubling of cases every week.”
A majority of New Mexico adults, 65.5 percent, were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, and over 53 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated.
Major hospital systems in New Mexico say that they are prepared to administer many more COVID-19 shots as they become available. But the nature of the supply chain is not only out of their hands, it’s out of the hands of the state, which relies on distribution from the federal government. Department of Health Secretary-designate Dr. Tracie Collins said that, as of Sunday, the state had received 221,375 COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal government and administered 203,830, or over 90 percent. “New Mexico [has] the third-highest vaccine administration rate among all states in the country,” Collins said. “So we have a lot to be proud of.”
The limiting factor for New Mexico Collins said, echoing what health officials had said earlier, was available supply.
As New Mexico looks to move to phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, nearly 400,000 New Mexicans have signed up to get their name on the list, Health Secretary-designate Dr. Tracie Collins said in a press conference Monday. As of Monday, and citing information from 81 percent of providers, Collins said the state had received more than 170,000 doses from the federal government—despite a rocky process on the federal level—and administered 78,143 of those doses, including more than 30,000 in the last week. Those who qualify for a vaccination “will receive a notification when a vaccine is available at a nearby location” and be able to set up an appointment, Collins said. She also said that the state was working to hire more employees for the state’s vaccine call center to avoid long wait times or, which happened at times last week, the inability for some to even connect to the call center. She said the state’s goal was to have more capacity than the needs for calls.
New Mexico has a record-breaking 1,007 individuals in the hospital, according to New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase. Scrase provided that number during a webinar Tuesday to discuss more in-depth the crisis standard of care. The state experienced technical difficulties, which meant that the event was not aired live over social platforms and that the state could not provide its daily update on additional COVID-19 cases and deaths. Scrase said the state will officially go into the crisis standard of care at hospitals before the end of the month. “In terms of timing, we’re here today because it could be very soon.