Updated: December 21, 2020 05:18 PM
Created: December 21, 2020 03:50 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A higher rate of people are dying of COVID-19 in New Mexico than almost every other state in the country, according new data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Over the past week, New Mexico had the fourth highest death rate in the country, 10.8 deaths per 100,000 people.
"We are saddened by the record number of deaths recently as well as the modeling that shows that our state could reach 3,000 deaths in the upcoming weeks, so we want to remind everyone that we can still turn this around," said Dr. Rohini McKee, UNM Hospital chief quality and safety officer.
Health experts say inequalities in socioeconomic status and healthcare could be to blame for the state's high death rate.
"We see this effect across New Mexico for various disease states with very high rates of kidney disease, liver disease, obesity, diabetes -- that patients that present with almost any type of illness fare far worse."said Dr. Denise Gonzales, medical director of healthcare services at Presbyterian. "This pandemic highlights what our entire state experiences on a regular basis which is higher mortality due to all of those causes"
Doctors are working hard to save lives, but hospitals capacity continues to be stretched thin.
"We're right on the brink. It's not just one hospital -- all of the major hospitals are right at the brink," Gonzales said.
While vaccines have given doctors some new hope, they have a desperate plea this holiday season.
"While this is a hopeful time, it is not the time to let up on our efforts we have another holiday coming up, and we really need to maintain those COVID-safe practices, so please, please do not gather outside of your household, continue to wear a mask and maintain social distancing," said Dr. McKee.
States with the highest death rate for the week of Dec. 13:
Iowa - 21.4 deaths per 100,000 people
South Dakota - 17.3 deaths per 100,000 people
North Dakota - 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people
New Mexico - 10.8 deaths per 100,000 people
Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company