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Rising case numbers prompt Department of Health to give first COVID-19 update in 3 months

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Jered Ebenreck
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KUNM/NMDOH FB Live
David Scrase spoke during the 6/8/22 NMDOH COVID Update

Amid rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Health held its first COVID19 media update since March on Wednesday.

It comes as cases in New Mexico increased 55% in the week preceding June 6. Nine Counties are in the Medium Risk category for community level spread according to CDC metrics. That includes Mora County, hard hit by wildfires. On June 8, 1100 new cases were reported statewide, 140 hospitalizations (9 of them ventilated), and 13 new COVID-19 deaths.

Acting Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase explained how New Mexico is responding to what he had previously described as a likely “post pandemic wave” by emphasizing treatments like Paxlovid.

Scrase said there are likely 3 to 7 times more infections than captured in state reporting due to the rise of home testing. Five times the 6/8 count would be 5500 new cases. But he added caseloads alone are no longer the main metric of risk. Rather hospitalizations and ICU usage now figure into the CDC Community Level metric.

Scrase also said that State Epidemiologist, Christine Ross will depart in July. No replacement was announced.

Ross and Scrase emphasized resources and recommendations available through the Department of Health Coronavirus Website, noting that clinical treatments for COVID help avoid hospitalization, ventilations, and severe illness.

Jered Ebenreck has been involved in community radio for 30 years--from college radio in Maryland to KGNU, Boulder to WOMR, Provincetown to KUNM in 2004. Having served in a volunteer capacity for 17 years, Jered joined the KUNM Newsroom to offer Public Health reporting and analysis while pursuing a graduate program in Public Health at UNM, with an emphasis on Social Ecology. Jered, with the help of his partner, is a caregiver for his mother. Jered can be contacted via jeredebenreck@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeredEbenreck
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