ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The number of new COVID-19 cases is ticking up again in New Mexico as the death toll reached another milestone Friday.
State health officials reported that four more people have succumbed to the virus, pushing the total to 4,001 since the pandemic began last year.
“Today’s sad milestone reminds us of what we have been through as a state and as a country. This is not just another number — they are our neighbors, our fellow New Mexicans," said Dr. Tracie Collins, head of the New Mexico Department of Health.
While the death rate has declined dramatically since peaking in December, Collins continued her push for people to adhere to the state's public health order and to get vaccinated, saying doing so will lessen the chances of severe illness or death. She also said the latest figures underscore the need for caution in the weeks and months ahead.
With 1,550 cases being confirmed over the past week, the seven-day average for new daily cases remains above the state’s target.
“While New Mexico is leading the nation in vaccinations and staying vigilant with COVID-safe practices, we are not out of the woods. There is still much work still to be done,” Collins said.
As for vaccinations, state data shows more than 37% of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.