State health officials hold briefing on COVID-19, monkeypox

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With flu season approaching, and COVID-19 and monkeypox still in the mix, the New Mexico Department of Health provided some updates on where New Mexico is now with those viruses.

Currently, the omicron variant continues to be the most dominant variant of COVID-19 in the state. NMDOH officials did say there has been a change in the severity of some of the omicron variants. Although they spread much easier, they are causing fewer hospitalizations and deaths.

While New Mexico has had lower case counts the last few months, some parts of the state are starting to see small spikes.

“For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been all green so the emergence of some high levels in the southwestern part of the state, bootheel and upwards is new,” said Dr. David Scrase, secretary of the state’s Health & Human Services Department. “Otero County you can see as well, and some of our northern counties, now back into yellow.”

The NMDOH also gave some updates on monkeypox in New Mexico. Right now, there have been 46 confirmed cases, 2 hospitalizations in the state, and 2 deaths in the U.S.

Similar to COVID-19, monkeypox vaccines require two doses.

“Monkeypox spreads through really close physical contact between two people, and really anyone can get monkeypox,” said Laura Parajon, the deputy cabinet secretary for the NMDOH.

As New Mexicans head into the fall and winter seasons, state health officials also mentioned there has been an increase in the common cold too.

As for the level of concern for COVID-19 in the next few months, NMDOH officials said we usually hit peak numbers during the fall – so be safe and cautious if case numbers start to creep up again.