Weekly News From Los Alamos County
November 14, 2022
Inside this newsletter, you will find...
The Epidemiology Corner - COVID-19 Update (- Omicron Variants BQ.1 / BQ.1.1 Dominate & Other Respiratory illnesses are Rapidly Rising - CDC Elevates Community Level in Los Alamos to HIGH Risk - Rising Trend in Reported Cases Accompanied by Increasing Emergency Department Visits - Wastewater Surveillance Reflects Rising Case Transmission - Increasing Case Transmission During Fall Season Particularly Apparent in Young Children - New Mexicans Encouraged to use NM Notify app to Report Positive COVID-19 Home Tests).
COVID-19 Update:
Immune-Evasive Variants BQ.1/BQ.1.1 Now Dominate in US, CDC Places County at High Risk
Omicron Variants BQ.1 / BQ.1.1 Now Dominate And Other Respiratory illnesses are Rapidly Rising    

CDC reports that Omicron variants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 (BQ.1x) now dominate in the US, accounting for 44% of cases nationwide, and up to 60% of cases in the Northeast US, including New York City. See HERE. Health authorities expect the BQ.1x variants to reach peak prevalence over the upcoming holiday season, raising concerns about a winter surge in cases as more time is spent indoors congregating and mitigation measures remain relaxed. See HERE. In New Mexico, average weekly reported COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled in number in just six weeks since the end of September. Over the same six-week time period, the burden of statewide emergency department (ED) visits has increased several fold not only for COVID-like illness, but also for influenza-like illness. A third respiratory illness, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, has also increased substantially in the US over this time, and is now causing a surge in hospitalizations in some areas of the nation, particularly among young infants, a group at particularly high risk of severe disease. See HERE.

COVID-19 in the County: CDC Elevates Community Level to HIGH Risk
The Community Level for Los Alamos County was elevated to HIGH risk for the week ending November 9.  Individual- and community-level prevention measures for when the Community Level is HIGH can be found HERE. Seven other counties, all located in the Northwest quadrant of the state, including Bernalillo County, are also designated as High risk as a result of transmission and hospitalization rates exceeding CDC threshold criteria levels. Over the past week, the case incidence rate for Los Alamos increased by 40% from 181 to 253 cases per 100,000.  COVID-19 hospitalization rates in the four-county Health Services Area (HSA) that includes Los Alamos are now approximating levels not seen since the summer BA.5 variant surge - a concerning development as the holiday season approaches and greater opportunity for indoor transmission exists.

Rising Trend in Reported Cases Accompanied by Increasing Emergency Department Visits in County Residents

An average of 7 cases per day were reported for the week ending November 9 compared to 5 cases per day for the immediately preceding week.  A sustained pattern of increasing weekly numbers of reported cases has been intact since mid-September, which is consistent with the Fall/Winter COVID-19 case wave anticipated by health authorities. According to the NMDOH, the percentage of Emergency Department (ED) visits in county residents for COVID-like symptoms was 7.3% for the two-week period ending November 9, the highest level seen since early August. See HERE. NMDOH reported one new hospital admission for COVID-19 in county residents during the week ending November 6.

Wastewater Surveillance Reflects Rising Case Transmission in the County  

SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to be detected in county municipal wastewater at a sustained level consistent with the gradual rising trend in reported cases. See https://biobot.io/data/.

Increasing Case Transmission During Fall Season Particularly Apparent in Young Children   

Case transmission has increased across the county throughout the Fall season, particularly in young children. Transmission rates among children 0-14 years have increased substantially from the relative lows seen in August – September and show not signs yet of abating going into the first week of November. Evidence of increased COVID-19 transmission in young children is of particular concern now as other surging respiratory viruses, including influenza and RSV, are spread by the same route of transmission as COVID-19. See HERE

New Mexicans Encouraged to use NM Notify app to Report Positive COVID-19 Home Tests

To assist with more complete case monitoring in New Mexico, NMDOH encourages residents to download the NM Notify app and to report positive COVID-19 home tests on the app. See the NMDOH press release HERE. NMDOH has retired the online self-reporting tool for COVID-19 rapid home tests formerly available on its website. The NMDOH/CDC COVID-19 incidence data reviewed here are based on PCR-confirmed testing results and do not include data on positive at-home antigen tests.  As such, case counts are incomplete and underestimated, but by how much cannot be determined precisely at any given time point.  

Los Alamos Vaccine & Booster Information
How do I know if I'm eligible for a vaccine or booster?

Follow these links to review the CDC eligibility guidelines:

Where can I get my COVID-19 Vaccine or Omicron booster?

Visit the NMDOH Vaccine Event Calendar website for locations. The site will even identify locations to get your flu shot as well.

In addition to the clinics that use the NMDOH scheduling site, Los Alamos has other options available. Click below on the vaccine/booster resources website for more information.

Los Alamos County COVID Vaccine/Booster Resources
Visit the County COVID Page for information regarding vaccinations/boosters, click below:
COVID-19 Data Resources
CDC COVID Data Tracker - November 14, 2022

To get today's break down of positive case data, demographics information, vaccine status and more for Los Alamos County or other counties across the United States, click HERE

Johns Hopkins
COVID-19 Status Report Dashboard for Los Alamos County

NMDOH Epidemiology Reports - Daily and Weekly Data
As part of the COVID-19 pandemic response, NMDOH collects and analyzes statewide data for COVID-19 positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The reports reflect these critical data and are updated weekly - click HERE
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Los Alamos Testing Information

Los Alamos County COVID Testing Resources
Visit the County COVID Page for information regarding testing, click below:
Los Alamos Treatment Information
Los Alamos County COVID Treatment Resources
Visit the County COVID Page for information regarding treatments, click below:
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