As COVID-19 hospitalizations drop, doctors ask New Mexicans to not let guard down

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is getting brighter in New Mexico.

The state reports that case numbers are dropping, vaccination rates are climbing and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are down.

In the state’s daily update Monday, 115 people were reported to be in the hosptial with COVID-19.

UNM Health Systems reports that it has 20 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals. Officials with Presbyterian say they have about 30 COVID-19 patients.

"Our clinical teams are hopeful that this downward trend continues but we remain vigilant because viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants are expected to occur overtime," said Dr. Denise Gonzales, medical director for Presbyterian Health Services.

Health officials warn, while there is reason for optimism, now is not the time to stop wearing masks or forget about social distancing.

"I think we’re all waiting and watching very carefully to see what does happen with spring break and the upcoming Easter break as well," Pitcher said. "We do anticipate with increased mobility that we may see a slight uptick in cases."

And despite the lower number of patients being treated for COVID-19, hospitals are still busy.

Doctors say many people are being seen because they put off critical care during the pandemic.

"We still remain incredibly full, our hospital still remains beyond our licensed capacity at least for adults and within our adult intensive care units and that’s just a reflection of a lot of pent-up demand for health care services," said Dr. David Pitcher, executive physician for UNM Health System.

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