Roswell’s hospitals and the New Mexico Rehabilitation Center have not received any out-of-state COVID-19 patients, officials with the facilities and the state said.
The Associated Press reported last week New Mexico has received transfers of patients from Arizona due to staffing shortages and lack of bed space there. Federal law requires hospitals to accept patients from neighboring states if beds are available.
Arizona, with 145,183 total cases, and Texas, with 325,030 total cases, are among the nation’s top states for the spread of COVID-19 currently.
According to the AP report, the University of New Mexico Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare Services have accepted Arizona patients.
However, those transfers do not extend into southeast New Mexico, according to David Morgan, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Health.
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“The Department of Health is unaware of any transfers of out of state patients for medical services based in the southeast part of the state,” he said in an email to the Roswell Daily Record.
Whitney Marquez, Communications Manager for Lovelace Health System, which includes Lovelace Regional Medical Center in Roswell, said the hospitals are not seeing an increase in out-of-state patient transfers. Brooke Linthicum, marketing director for Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, said the hospital has not received any COVID-19 patients transferred from out of state.
“Alternatively, ENMMC has not transferred any COVID-19 patients out of our facility to a higher level of care. To date, all COVID-19 patients that have been admitted at ENMMC have been able to receive the treatment they need in our facility,” she said.
Even with the transfers and a growing number of positive cases in New Mexico, the health department’s spokesman said there is not an overwhelming concern for the state’s available intensive care beds to fill up.
“We would know well ahead of time hospital and ICU occupancy rates to address this problem,” Morgan said.
“Currently the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in New Mexico are people in their 20s, and hospitalization rates for the virus are lower overall,” Morgan said.
Data from the New Mexico Health Department’s web site shows that as of July 14, 256 of the state’s maximum 614 ICU beds at seven “hub” hospitals were filled. Eastern New Mexico Medical Center is among those seven.
The 20 to 29 age group comprises just under 20% of the state’s total of 16,971 cases reported as of Sunday. The same holds true for Chaves County’s 197 total cases as of Sunday.
Also according to Sunday’s report, 161 people were hospitalized for COVID-19. That’s lower than two months ago, when 216 were reported in the hospital on May 25, but higher than July 1, when 127 people were hospitalized.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or email@example.com.