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Courtesy of NMDOH

The epidemic curve for Taos County as of Jan. 7, 2022.

COVID cases have continued to increase in Taos County with the spread of the Omicron variant. The county saw a 67 percent percent increase in its COVID-19 case rate (cases per 100,000 people per week) this past week. Meanwhile, cases rose 42 percent nationally and 77 percent in New Mexico.

Town of Taos GIS Analyst Tim Corner said the Omicron variant is now thought to be “two to three times” more transmissible than the Delta variant, and “ten times” more transmissible than the original COVID variant. “This is reflected in a continuing rapid increase in cases across the States, New Mexico and within Taos County,” he said. “Hospitalizations are now also increasing, but at a slower rate.” Despite this, Corner said the county can still expect a 50 percent increase in hospitalizations in the coming weeks “and a record number of monthly COVID-related admissions by the end of January.”

Taos County reported a record-breaking 245 new cases of COVID-19 from Jan. 4 – Jan. 10, compared to 141 new cases the week before, according to Corner. The total number of cases in the county is now at 3,610.

Two additional deaths were reported among Taos County residents in the past week, bringing the total number of deaths to 75. The last two people to die of COVID in the county were a woman in her 70s and a man in his 70s, both of whom were hospitalized.

Across New Mexico, 30 of 33 counties saw an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The Northwest part of the state had the fastest growing case rate, while the Southeast and Southwest had the slowest growth.

The average daily case count for the state increased to 2,983 cases per day last week, up from 1,688 the week before. Meanwhile, the average deaths per day in the state increased to 22 per day, up from 13 per day last week.

Every county in the state currently has a high transmission rate — defined by the The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as any county with more than 100 new cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days.

The New Mexico Department of Health reports that the state has seen more than 381,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020, with a death toll of 6,045. The CDC reports that more than 837,000 people have died in the U.S. due to COVID-19.

Taos County residents aged 18 and older are 88 percent fully vaccinated and 99 percent partially vaccinated, according to Corner. For the state as a whole, 76 percent are fully vaccinated and 89 percent are partially vaccinated, and 38 percent have received a booster shot. For younger New Mexicans (aged 12–17), 58 percent are fully vaccinated and 68 percent are partially vaccinated. Twenty percent of children aged 5-11 have been fully vaccinated, and 30 percent have been partially vaccinated.

To get vaccinated, or sign up to get a booster shot, go to vaccinenm.org

Testing sites

Walgreens: Free drive-through testing, 811 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Sign up online at walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing.

Taos Youth and Family Center: Free drive-through oral swab testing Wednesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., 407 Paseo del Cañon East. Register at cvtestreg.nmhealth.org; also see curative.com or cur.tv/taos. Painless, self-administered oral swab test. Results delivered electronically within 48 hours of receipt at the lab.

Taos Department of Health: Free nasal swab testing Mondays, 8-10:30 a.m., 1400 Weimer Road, Taos. Register at cvtestreg.nmhealth.org. For more information, call 575-758-0493.

No-cost, at home testing: New Mexico and Vault Medical Services offer at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for any person who believes they need to be tested, with or without symptoms, at no cost. Order a test online at cvvaccine.nmhealth.org.

Holy Cross: PCR testing can be performed by written request from primary care provider with results within 1-2 hours. Call (575)751-8951.

Nextcare Urgent Care: Testing available via appointment every day of the week between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Call 575-758-1414.

El Centro Family Health: Testing for established patients only, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Call 575-758-3601.

Family Practice Associates of Taos: Must be seen for a walk-in appointment. PCR testing with results in 48 hours.

Mogul Medical at Taos Ski Valley: Rapid antigen testing and mid-nasal swabs with results in less than 30 minutes. Bill sent to insurance, or $99 out of pocket. Call 575-776-8421.

Taos/Picuris Indian Health Center: Must be IHS eligible. Call 575-758-6920.

Taos Public Health Clinic: Drive through clinic with PCR testing on Mondays between 9 and 10 a.m. Register at cvtestreg.nmhealth.org.

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