Home News COVID-19 Situation State launches vaccine registration website

State launches vaccine registration website

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In this file photo, New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase discusses health care amid the coronavirus pandemic during an online meeting with hospital officials and reporters on Dec. 8. During a press conference Tuesday, Scrase provided data to supplement the state’s daily COVID-19 update. (AP Photo)

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The state on Tuesday launched a registration website to help New Mexicans learn when they will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.

New Mexico Department of Health Secretary-designate Dr. Tracie Collins announced the registration site during a press conference Tuesday afternoon with Secretary of Human Services Dr. David Scrase. The press conference was livestreamed on the New Mexico Department of Human Services Facebook page.

All New Mexicans can register at the site, https://cvvaccine.nmhealth.org. It asks for information including name, cell phone number, email address and occupation. If a registrant is eligible now, during the 1A phase of the state’s vaccination plan, he or she will receive further information right away.

“If you’re eligible now you’ll learn where to get the vaccine. If you’re not eligible you will receive a notification when you are,” Collins said.

Those eligible now include front-line health care workers whose positions put them at high risk of exposure, according to the state’s vaccine plan drafted in October and submitted to the federal government. Second will be other front-line healthcare workers, first responders, and staff and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

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The Department of Health is now looking at the next phases of its vaccination plan, Collins said, and will consider recommendations from the federal government as to who is prioritized, but will also consider guidance from within the state.

“We’re also going to meet with our medical experts and community members and have them weigh in how we should prioritize. We’re certainly going to be considering the New Mexico workforce and the total impact of this pandemic on our state,” Collins said.

Essential workers and those over age 75 will be in the next groups.

“Certainly essential workers are in line and we need to figure out how we sub-prioritize within those groups equitably. Also age 75 years and older is also in line with the essential workers. We are going to have more information for the public in January as to which groups will go next,” Collins said.

As of Tuesday, more than 14,000 vaccines have been administered in New Mexico, Collins said. Of the initial 17,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine the state received, only one shipment of 75 doses was not used due to concerns the storage temperature had deviated to an unsafe level, she said.

Collins and Scrase said it will likely be mid-January or February before the state sees data showing how the vaccine affects case numbers and test positivity rates.

Scrase gave data to supplement the Department of Health’s daily COVID-19 update.

Twenty-nine counties and six correctional facilities reported a total of 1,272 new cases including 54 in Chaves County. Twenty-three deaths related to the virus were announced including two from Chaves County. They were a man in his 40s and a man in his 60s. Both had been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions. Their deaths bring the county’s total to 81. The state’s total is now 2,203.

The state’s total number of cases of COVID-19 since March is now 132,075.

“That puts us over 6% of our population having been infected,” Scrase said.

The county’s total number of cases since March is now 6,262.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state were at 810 people as of Tuesday with 158 on ventilators.

“If you’ve been keeping close track you know that’s lower than it’s been in some time. We’ve been getting our first break in the hospitals in over four weeks in terms of declining hospital volume,” Scrase said.

Also as of Tuesday, the state had 25 adult ICU beds and 133 general medical beds available, Scrase said.

Scrase said New Mexico is on the downside of its third wave of infections, based on the downward trend in hospitalizations. The exception is the northwest region of the state, where case numbers remain high.

On gating criteria, the state’s spread rate — or how many people one infected person can spread the virus to — has fallen to 0.88. The state’s test positivity rate is still high at 12.15% but has improved, Scrase said.

He said it’s hoped the new at-home saliva test that was also announced Tuesday will soon help the state test 20,000 people a day. More testing will initially lead to an increase in cases, but will in a longer term help manage the spread as more infected people and their contacts are identified and isolated more quickly, he said.

Data from the New York Times showed New Mexico had one of the sharpest declines of residents’ mobility in the country after Thanksgiving, showing the two-week “reset” of restrictions was a success, Scrase said.

“We’re a little bit nervous about the Christmas holiday. If we can get the same results over Christmas and the winter holidays that we got for Thanksgiving, we’ll be in much better shape for things we’d like to do in the new year,” he said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

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