New Mexico Reports First Flu Case; Health Officials Urge People To Get Vaccinated

Oct 16, 2020

 

As New Mexico saw multiple days of record high coronavirus case numbers this week, the New Mexico Department of Health on Thursday announced this season’s first recorded case of influenza in the state. Health officials are urging New Mexicans to get a flu shot as soon as possible.  

With COVID cases surging, two of Albuquerque’s three major hospitals are at or beyond their capacity, Politico reported Friday. That means ICU beds and ventilators are in short supply, just as flu season is getting started.

 

To prevent New Mexico hospitals from being further overwhelmed by influenza cases, the New Mexico Department of Health says everyone aged 6 months and up should get a flu shot.

 

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said in an online update Thursday that vaccinations are down 13% from this time last year. “And this is not a good time to fall behind," he said, "especially now that we have had our first recorded case of the 2000 version of influenza B in the state."

 

"All the things we’re recommending for safe practices like masking, staying at home, keeping your distance, washing your hands - they work for both [COVID and influenza]," said Scrase.

 

According to the CDC, it is possible to have COVID and the flu at the same time, and UK scientists found that being infected with both significantly increases the risk of death.

 

The NMDOH recommends that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms get tested for both influenza and COVID. According to the DOH, there were nearly 200 influenza-related deaths in New Mexico last season.

 

Find information on how and where to get flu shots and testing at togethernm.org/flu.

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Correction: A previous version of this story contained a misleading statement by Dr. Scrase about the possibility of having both the flu and COVID-19. It is in fact possible to have both simultaneously, and health experts warn that being infected with either virus can make a person more vulnerable to getting sick with the other.