State issues health emergency order regarding respiratory viruses

COVID-19 tests top eight million

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The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) issued a public health emergency order Dec. 1 “in response to a surge of pediatric cases and hospitalizations of respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV,” NMDOH said in a news release.

The order requires all New Mexico hospitals to work cooperatively to reactivate and participate in a ‘hub and spoke’ model of resource management to ensure patients are transferred to appropriate levels of care,” the news release said. 

The order “is necessary now as hospitals and emergency rooms are operating above their licensed capacity due to a surge in respiratory viruses and are now experiencing an unsustainable strain on healthcare providers,” NMDOH said.

“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States is experiencing an early, elevated onset of respiratory disease incidence, as the result of RSV, influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses,” NMDOH said. “Respiratory disease caused by RSV and other viruses is placing severe strain on pediatric hospital capacity in New Mexico, and evaluations show that the state is nearing a level of capacity strain that would necessitate activating crisis standards of care.

“We expand our social networks during the holidays, which is an important part of nurturing ourselves as human beings living in a complex world. However, at the same time we create more opportunities for respiratory viruses to spread,” said NMDOH acting Sec. David Scrase, M.D. “It’s important to take steps to reduce the risk for respiratory viruses by practicing the good health and hygiene habits we’ve learned over the past few years as New Mexico nurses, doctors and hospital staff are facing another surge.

“New Mexico saw a significant increase in RSV cases (in) October and November 2022, in addition to an increase in cases associated with COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory illnesses,” NMDOH said. “According to the CDC weekly Influenza Surveillance Report, New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee are seeing the highest rates of in Influenza in the country.”

Visit www.nmhealth.org/news/alert/2022/12/?view=1913 to read the entire news release.

COVID-19 update

As of Dec. 1, there have been 8,187,437 COVID-19 tests performed in New Mexico, 647,334 cases reported and 8,702 deaths recorded as a result of the virus, NMDOH said.

NMDOH said more than 750,000 New Mexicans are using the NM Notify app to report positive COVID-19 home tests.

Visit https://cv.nmhealth.org/.