Lack of hospital capacity appears to be behind increased COVID-19 restrictions in NM | KOB 4

Lack of hospital capacity appears to be behind increased COVID-19 restrictions in NM

Grace Reader
Updated: November 10, 2020 06:10 PM
Created: November 10, 2020 02:56 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Many New Mexicans have wondered whether the state-imposed restrictions are working. They point to states with fewer restrictions, which, at times, have reported a lower COVID-19 positivity rate.

Health officials said a big reason for the tightened restrictions is the lack of hospital capacity in New Mexico.

"Our hospitals are close to full, and sometimes more than full," said Dr. Jason Mitchell, chief medical officer for Presbyterian.

Mitchell added that the increase in COVID-19 infections is beginning to strain the limits of the state's health care system.

Medical professionals warn that hospitals are in jeopardy of not being able to respond to everyone's needs.

"Not everyone is understanding just how serious this is," said Dr. David Pitcher, executive physician and UNM Hospital, "And how important it is that we do everything perfectly right." 

A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, an independent health care research organization, shows Washington and Oregon are the only two states with fewer hospital beds per capita than New Mexico.

The report adds that there are fewer than two beds per 1,000 people in New Mexico.

States at the top of the list, South Dakota, Mississippi and West Virginia, have about four or five beds per 1,000 people.

A spokesperson for Presbyterian added that El Paso has more hospital beds than all of New Mexico, combined.

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