New Mexico health officials provide update on ‘tripledemic’

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico health leaders provided an update on the tripledemic Thursday afternoon.

David Scrase, acting cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, says there’s a chilling number of children on ventilators right now.

According to a rep from UNM Children’s Hospital, there are 22 patients in their ICU right now, and all but two have a breathing tube in. Officials said they are mostly dealing with RSV, but revealed many children are testing positive for three or even four viruses at once.

Health officials said the number of RSV cases appears to be dropping in the state. Scrase believes New Mexico may have already passed the peak for that virus.

However, New Mexico currently has the highest flu rate in the country. Roughly 14% of all patient visits across the state are for the flu – almost 10% higher than the usual baseline.

COVID-19 cases are slowly increasing in the state, but data shows there are significantly fewer cases than this time last winter or 2020 when there were major COVID-19 outbreaks.

Scrase said it’s not unusual for viruses to spread during this time of year, but he admits the current situation is different.

“I think it’s unusual,” Scrase said. “I mean, you know, we’re seeing RSV two months early. We’re seeing influenza start early with a much more rapid surge than we’ve seen before. Those are on top of the COVID cases that we’re seeing. They do seem a little bit more several this winter, so yes, it’s unusual.”