This story is a staff report from The Paper.

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New Mexico state health officials announced another grim milestone of the COVID pandemic on Monday. Over 5,000 New Mexicans have died due to COVID-19. 

“These aren’t just numbers – they are our family members, friends, and neighbors, and we grieve for them and their families,” said New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) Acting Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D. 

New Mexico hospitals continue to strain under the pressure of the pandemic. Although there are fewer COVID patients than this time last year, the vast majority of New Mexicans in the hospital for COVID are unvaccinated. This increases the strain on hospitals and staff who are also caring for patients who unfortunately delayed care due to the pandemic. 
Vaccination remains the most powerful tool at New Mexicans’ disposal. Between February 1st, 2021 and October 11th, 2021, there were 1,039 COVID-related deaths in New Mexico. Of those deaths, 967 were unvaccinated. “This means that nearly 1,000 people in New Mexico have died who didn’t need to die. If every eligible New Mexican got vaccinated, we could put an end to this pandemic,” said Dr. Scrase.

The DOH urges New Mexicans to continue following all DOH- and CDC-recommended safe practices, including:

  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Getting a booster, when it is available to them
  • Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth
  • Getting tested for COVID-19