Eddy County could hit a COVID-19 vaccination milestone in two weeks, said a deputy cabinet secretary with the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH).
Dr. Laura Chanichen Parajon said 869 Eddy County residents needed to receive both COVID-19 vaccinations before the County hits the 50 percent mark of full vaccinations.
As of Sept. 22, 48 percent of Eddy County’s population received both COVID-19 vaccinations, read DOH data.
DOH said 56 percent of Eddy County residents received at least one dose as of Sept. 22.
Eddy County’s adult population was 42,816, read DOH figures.
Parajon said Eddy County might reach the 50 percent plateau sometime in October.
“Any improvement anywhere in the state helps,” said Dr. David Scrase, acting DOH secretary. “What we’ve learned in the last couple of weeks we’ve actually had without knowing it, provided huge protection for our kids and dramatically reduced hospital rates of New Mexico kids as a result of all of us getting vaccinated.”
During a Sept. 22 statewide press conference, DOH released information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating COVID-19 vaccinations were highly effective.
CDC evaluated 21 hospitals in the United States from March through August of this year and vaccine effectiveness against hospitalizations was 93 percent for the Moderna vaccine and 88 percent for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to information from the Sept. 22 press conference.
Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz said 1,115 people were vaccinated since August 13 at COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts Center in Carlsbad.
She addressed the Eddy County Board of County Commissioners Sept. 21 and said nearly 4,500 residents received vaccinations at the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts Center since March.
Armendariz said no clinic took place in Carlsbad Sept. 24 due to a scheduling conflict at the civic center.
She said vaccinations would revert back to a one-day a week schedule in the middle of October.
“Starting Oct. 18 we’re going back to Monday’s only and we’ll kind of look at the numbers and see how they go,” Armendariz said.
She said hours maybe extended on Oct. 18 since vaccinations will only be offered once a week.
“Right now we are doing 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. But, if we do the one-day only we may extend the hours a little bit,” Armendariz said.
Until Oct. 18, vaccination clinics at the Walter Gerrells Performing Arts Center are offered on Friday’s and Monday’s.
New COVID-19 numbers in Eddy County remained below 50 from Sept. 21 through Sept. 23, DOH news releases indicated.
Twenty four new cases were cited Sept. 21, 47 were reported on Sept. 22 and 46 were noted on Sept. 23, according to DOH.
Figures from Artesia General Hospital (AGH) shown 10,059 overall COVID-19 cases in Eddy County. Carlsbad had 6,285 and Artesia had 3,076.
As of Sept. 23, 18 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Eddy County. Four were in Artesia, per the northern Eddy County hospital’s website.
Five Eddy County residents were on ventilators due to COVID-19. One was in Artesia, per AGH website data.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.