New Mexico again saw a record-breaking daily count of COVID-19 cases, with 5,547 reported Thursday. The number surpassed the most recent record, set less than a week ago, by more than 1,300 cases.

The count will increase the state's sky-high, seven-day average number of cases, which was nearly 3,800 on Wednesday, according to New York Times data. With so many New Mexico residents testing positive for the virus, the state's positivity rate had reached almost 28 percent, health officials reported.

An increasing number of patients, 609, were hospitalized Thursday for treatment of COVID-19.

The news comes as President Joe Biden announced he would be sending a military medical team to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque to ease the strain on an overburdened staff.

A man in his 60s from Santa Fe County and a man in his 80s from Los Alamos County were among 36 COVID-19 deaths in the state Department of Health's daily report. Both had been hospitalized, according to the report, but it does not note any underlying conditions for the men.



More than half of the newly reported deaths were in southern and eastern counties, where the quickly spreading omicron variant has led to higher numbers of cases and where vaccination rates in some areas remain among the lowest in the state, at around 55 percent.

Santa Fe County had 320 new cases Thursday, and the city of Santa Fe's 87507 ZIP code was the ninth highest in the state, with 126 positive tests.

Bernalillo County had 1,513 cases, while Doña Ana County had 994; San Juan, 416; Sandoval, 359; McKinley, 246; Chaves, 244; Lea, 212; Eddy, 147; Valencia, 127; Otero, 121; San Miguel, 119; and Lincoln, 104.

The state has seen its total number of cases since the start of the pandemic rise to nearly 394,000, while 6,109 residents have died from COVID-19.

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