State health officials hopeful COVID-19 surge will peak soon

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State health officials believe the daily COVID-19 case counts could peak soon.

Hospitals in New Mexico are full and health officials say the facilities will still be strained for weeks to come.

Last week, there were 50 New Mexicans on a waitlist for the ICU. This week, that number has dropped, but there are still a handful of New Mexicans waiting on an ICU bed.

Health officials are urging the unvaccinated to get vaccinated. The latest data shows that nearly 68% of New Mexicans are now fully vaccinated.

Dr. Christine Ross, the state epidemiologist, said she’s not sure there will be a "magical number" where herd immunity is met and life can return to normal.

"I think what Secretary [David] Scrase was really important that this is a global pandemic, and New Mexico is not an island," Ross said. "We’re part of the U.S. and we’re part of this global community that is really, really well connected by air travel, sea, land, etc. So I don’t think that there’s a specific number I can quote and I think we will be dealing with this for a while."

Health officials said it continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Breakthrough cases remain just a small portion of overall cases.