Coronavirus surge in New Mexico leads hospital officials to warn they are running out of beds

Over past 2 weeks, state has seen nearly 90% increase in hospitalizations

Hospital officials in New Mexico are warning they are at or nearing capacity as cases of COVID-19 are surging across the state. 

Over the past two weeks alone, the state has seen nearly a 90% increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, New Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during a recent news conference, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

Hospital officials in New Mexico are warning they are at or nearing capacity as cases of COVID-19 are surging across the state.

Hospital officials in New Mexico are warning they are at or nearing capacity as cases of COVID-19 are surging across the state. (iStock)

Officials for various hospitals in the state have warned that their facilities are nearing or reaching capacity amid the surge. For context, the state on Tuesday recorded 2,324 new cases of COVID-19. Some 99,419 cases have been reported in New Mexico to date. 

“Our hospital is full and we are very close to running out of ICU beds and regular beds,” Dr. Rohini McKee, University of New Mexico Hospital’s chief quality and safety officer, told the newspaper. “Given the numbers we’ve seen over the past few weeks our health care system is going to be overwhelmed. But our behaviors will determine how long that system is going to be overwhelmed.”

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Meanwhile, Presbyterian Health Care Services’  nine hospitals in the states are reportedly operating at 110% capacity, the newspaper reported, citing Jason Mitchell, Presbyterian Health Care Services’ chief medical care officer. 

“We are out of ICU beds,” Mitchell told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “We really are totally full.”

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations have been steadily increasing in the state in recent weeks, with 909 people hospitalized in the state due to COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. 

New Mexico is not the only state seeing a surge in such hospitalizations. One hospital official in Alabama, for instance, warned this week that the state’s recent increase in coronavirus cases — what she described as a “tidal wave” — could soon overwhelm hospitals in the state.

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“Now we’re going into the holiday season and we could really be in a situation in the next two to three weeks that compromises our ability to provide health care,” said Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

“We’ve been very cautious not to use alarmist terminology. We’ve been very cautious to always try to be scientifically accurate in our communications. But I think this is a time we need to start thinking about tidal wave imagery, tsunami imagery.

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“If you look at our ICU bed situation right now in Alabama, it is not particularly optimistic,” Marrazzo added, noting that the numbers do not yet include new cases from Thanksgiving gatherings.

Health officials around the country have warned such festivities will likely lead to an increase in cases and hospitalizations in the coming weeks. 

The news comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. are on track to top 100,000 in the coming days — just after hospitalizations reached a new record high last week when they topped 90,000