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Officials from three of New Mexico’s largest healthcare systems warned that they were operating above capacity due to the large influx of COVID patients arriving daily. New patients infected with the delta variant were the largest cause of concern.

The New Mexico Department of Health reported on that over 350 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized on Thursday. That number has more than doubled since the beginning of August and is 22 percent higher than the same time last week.

In a media briefing, officials from the University of New Mexico Hospital, Lovelace Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare Services urged the public to get vaccinated as the delta variant is much more contagious and they’re seeing more children with infections.

Presbyterian Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Mitchell warned, “Our hospitals are completely full and we are well beyond capacity.” He also said that while hospitals are not full of COVID patients, they are seeing an increase of hospitalizations of people who put off healthcare during the pandemic.

Gov. Lujan Grisham mandated that hospital employees have until the end of this week to get their vaccination. Hospital officials said they don’t anticipate staffing shortages, as most employees are vaccinated.

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