COVID cases, hospitalizations rise as booster opens up for kids 5-11

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The latest numbers and analysis show New Mexico is not done with COVID-19.

Cases are rising again. The 7-day average is more than double what it was a month ago, though the situation is not nearly as dire as what the state experienced earlier this year.

The number of patients in hospitals with COVID has risen in the last three weeks, landing at 75 on Friday.

There were 700 such patients in January, then a decline all the way through mid-to-late April, a month which ended with 33 COVID patients.

On Friday, spokespeople for the state’s major hospital systems echoed what those numbers show, saying they’re thankfully still not near their capacities.


On Friday, the New Mexico Department of Health announced it’s aligning with federal agencies and opening up a booster (a third shot) of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds.

Dr. Alex Cvijanovich, president of the New Mexico Pediatric Society, said it’s good timing – with summer camps and other activities coming up in weeks.

“There’s going to be a lot of socialization this summer, so I think that it’s worth doing, the booster, because it does still seem to protect people from severe disease,” Cvijanovich said.

She added that an extra shot would add protection come next school year.

Dr. Cvijanovich said she’s also seeing many unvaccinated Albuquerque teenagers with ‘long COVID, a term used when symptoms linger for months on end. She said they face constant fatigue.

“That really brings it home to me that this is a serious virus. We don’t see ‘long-flu,’ fortunately. We haven’t seen this kind of behavior out of a virus at this point,” she said.

Dr. Cvijanovich added that there are high case numbers for respiratory illnesses in general right now – including the flu and common colds. There would normally not be high case counts this late in May. She said she isn’t really able to explain why that’s the case in New Mexico.