COVID-19 vaccination rates in Eddy County increased during August, according to the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH).
DOH data from Aug. 2 indicated 48 percent of Eddy County’s population had at least one shot and nearly 41.6 percent were fully vaccinated.
As of Thursday, 53 percent of Eddy County residents received at least one dose and 43.8 percent were fully vaccinated, DOH figures stated.
“Eddy County residents are rising to the occasion and starting to move in the right direction by getting vaccinated,” said David Morgan, DOH spokesperson.
“Whether it’s because of the cash incentive, concerns about the delta variant or a little bit of both, this is great news and we are grateful to Eddy County residents,” Morgan said.
Residents lined up to get their shots at vaccination clinics Thursday in Artesia and Friday in Carlsbad.
A man who did not want to be identified at the Carlsbad clinic received his first dose Friday.
He wanted to be safe around two relatives who received organ transplants.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway, writing Thursday, said 175 people had made appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations in Carlsbad.
Eddy County remained below the state average of vaccinated residents, data show.
At least 77 percent of New Mexicans received at least one dose and 67 percent had both vaccinations.
“We encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you can,” said Melissa Suggs, spokesperson at Carlsbad Medical Center.
“Vaccines remain the best strategy for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and are readily available at most local drugstores, the Eddy County Health Offices, and community clinics being held at the Walter Gerrells Civic Center.”
Janway concerned about hospitalizations
Sixteen Eddy County residents were hospitalized for COVID-19, per data from Artesia General Hospital Thursday.
The northern Eddy County medical facility said three COVID-19 patients were in their care.
Suggs said Carlsbad Medical Center had 14 COVID-19 patients as of Friday afternoon.
“Our clinical staff is reporting a higher level acuity for our current patients,” she said.
Suggs added Carlsbad Medical Center had four COVID-19 patients on ventilators in the intensive care unit.
Artesia General Hospital reported no patients on ventilators as of Thursday.
“We’re going to continue to see more residents hospitalized in Eddy County and statewide,” Morgan said.
“Vaccination rates are moving in the right direction, but the more people vaccinated, the more people protected from serious illness or hospitalization, the better off everyone will be.”
As of Thursday, 415 individuals were hospitalized across New Mexico, data indicated.
Another death reported in Eddy County
DOH reported an Eddy County woman in her 70s died from COVID-19 Thursday. It was the 157th death since the first deaths were reported in March 2020.
The woman was hospitalized and had underlying medical conditions, according to DOH.
Forty-six new COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday in Eddy County by DOH. Fifty-seven were cited Wednesday and 49 were reported Tuesday.
Overall Eddy County had 8,824 total cases as of Thursday with 96,426 total tests. DOH stated 7,061 people recovered from COVID-19.
“Over the last week, Carlsbad Medical Center has performed a record number of COVID-19 tests, with an average positivity rate of 18 percent,” Suggs said.
Carlsbad remained in DOH’s top-10 ZIP codes for newest COVID-19 cases since late July.
From July 30 to Aug. 17 Carlsbad was first, second or third in New Mexico ZIP codes.
DOH data show Carlsbad fell to sixth place on Aug. 18 with 34 new cases. Carlsbad moved back to the second and third spots Aug. 19 through Aug. 25.
Thursday, Carlsbad went back to sixth place with 27 new COVID-19 cases.
“Our hospital remains prepared to care for patients needing medical care, whether for COVID-19 or another medical condition,” Suggs said.
“We are currently limiting visitation to one visitor per patient, and we continue to follow Center for Disease Control guidelines to take the proper precautions to protect our patients, staff and visitors.”
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.