Hospital Officer: New Mexico at Pivotal Point With Virus

October 30, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The chief medical officer for the largest hospital system in New Mexico said Thursday that the state is at a pivotal point with the coronavirus as a new high was set for the daily case count and hospitalizations hit record levels.

Dr. Jason Mitchell with Presbyterian Healthcare Services said during a briefing that the data and modeling is clear that New Mexico’s health care system will face a crisis if the spread of COVID-19 continues at its current rate. He warned that by December, equipment like ventilators would have to be shared and hospitals would have to set up tents in parking lots to make room for patients.

“Our goal is to ensure transmission is low enough so we never hit that point,” he said. “This is a serious call to action for us as a community.”

New Mexico on Thursday marked its highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began, with state officials saying the number of people in hospital beds due to a COVID-19 infection has increased more than 50% in just seven days.

The number of deaths also are on the rise as daily case counts have increased more than 15% in the past seven days compared to the previous week. In all, nearly 1,000 people have died in New Mexico and Thursday’s count of confirmed infections — 1,082 — smashed a record that was set just days ago.


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