The number of COVID-19 cases reported in Otero County spiked over the weekend.
A July 26 update from the New Mexico Department of Health showed seven new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Otero County.
On July 23, 13 new cases were reported, and 21 new cases reported July 22. Nine were reported July 21, a large jump from the single case reported July 20. On July 19, 17 cases were reported in the county.
“The New Mexico Department of Health is doing everything we can to ensure that New Mexicans have access to vaccination and testing,” New Mexico Department of Health spokeswoman Lealia Nelson said. “We all need to do our part to protect the most vulnerable and ensure that we do not overwhelm our healthcare resources, which can have dire consequences far beyond COVID-19.”
The New Mexico Department of Health asked those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms such as “fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and/or loss of taste or smell” call a health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.
Otero County reported 4,170 positive COVID-19 cases with a 1.38% positivity rate during the pandemic.
Eighty-six deaths were attributed to COVID-19 and 3,992 people reportedly recovered from COVID-19 since tracking began in March 2020, according to the New Mexico Department of Health as of July 26.
Fifty-two percent of the eligible Otero County population had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while 44.5% of the Otero County population completed the vaccination series, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
“We do know what works against this virus,” Nelson said. “Specifically, vaccination will reduce the severity of infection and reduce the spread of the COVID virus.”
New Mexico was one of 49 states that recently experienced a COVID-19 spike. The one state that did not was Vermont.
New Mexico is one of several states holding a conditional cash lottery to get New Mexicans to get inoculated against COVID-19.
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The New Mexico version Vax 2 the Max contest makes $10 million in prize money available plus other prizes for New Mexicans who get vaccinated against COVID-19. Those wanting to be part of the program must opt in to it at vax2themaxnm.org.
The first state to use conditional cash lotteries was Ohio with its Vax-A-Million program which was used as a case study for a paper from the University of California at Santa Cruz titled “Conditional Cash Lotteries Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates” written by Andrew Barber and Jeremy West.
“Ohio’s incentive scheme increases the vaccinated share of state population by 1.5 percent, costing $68 per person persuaded to vaccinate,” the report states. “We show this causes significant reductions in COVID-19, preventing at least one infection for every six vaccinations that the lottery had successfully encouraged.”
The New Mexico Department of Health Vaccination Dash Board does not give historical data showing how or if vaccination data has improved statewide.
The paper also discussed the reasons why some people chose not to get vaccinated against a disease that has killed more than 611,000 Americans, including 4,400 New Mexicans.
“From a decision-making perspective, a person’s choice to (not) be vaccinated boils down to whether their expected benefit—including altruistic benefit—outweighs their cost of vaccination,” the paper states.
The United States reduced such costs by making the COVID-19 vaccines free of charge, offering transportation to vaccine appointments and vaccination events and providing information about the COVID-19 vaccines, the paper states.
“Despite these efforts, many people remain unpersuaded,” the paper states.
For more information on the New Mexico program or on available COVID-19 vaccines visit vaccinenm.org or call 1-855-600-3453, press option 0 for vaccine questions, and then option 3 for tech support.
For more information about COVID-19 testing and current public health orders visit cv.nmhealth.org or call 1-855-600-3453.
Nicole Maxwell can be contacted by email at [email protected], by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.