SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins and Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase provided a COVID-19 updated Wednesday. Almost every county has now reached the turquoise level in the color-coded COVID map. That includes Bernalillo and Sandoval counties.
Last week, the state announced a change to New Mexico’s color-coded Red-to-Turquoise framework that now includes vaccination rates. The county map was updated earlier on Wednesday. It now shows that almost the entire state is at the least restrictive Turquoise Level. The two counties that remain in the Green Level are Valencia and Catron counties while Chaves County is in Yellow.
As of April 30, the following health metrics used to determine a county’s risk level include:
- A new per-capita rate of new COVID-19 cases of no greater than 10 per 100,000 inhabitants over the most recent 14-day reporting period.
- An average positivity rate less than or equal to 7.5% over the most recent 14-day reporting period.
- A county with a fully vaccinated rate at or above a target, beginning at 35% as of April 30 and increasing to 40% for the regularly scheduled map update on May 5, which will increase 5% every other week as more vaccinations are completed.
The New Mexico Department of Health and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also previously announced that the state will graduate out of the color-coded county risk system and remove most pandemic-related restrictions on commercial activities when 60% of eligible New Mexicans have been fully vaccinated. State modeling projects estimate this to occur as early as the end of June.
Meanwhile, the big upgrade Wednesday was for Bernalillo County, as it moved into the turquoise level when it was in the yellow this time last week. All of the state’s largest counties including Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Sandoval, San Juan and Santa Fe are now in turquoise. That means indoor bars and clubs can open at 33% capacity for the first time in 14 months.
Restaurants can expand to 75% indoor and outdoor capacity and large entertainment and recreation facilities can be open for 75% outdoor seating, indoor is 33% and 50%, respectively.
This is the second update under the new gating criteria that raises the test positivity and case average standards and takes a county’s vaccination rate into account.
Dr. Scrase says if counties don’t keep up with the moving vaccine target, they could slide out of turquoise in four weeks on June 5 when the vaccine target moves up to 50% fully vaccinated. “Assuming that every county is at 50% vaccination rate we won’t have to deal with that issue. Now it is possible if somebody met no criteria, none of the three, to go back to red. If they met only one, to go back yellow after that four-week period,” Dr. Scrase said.
Dr. Collins says they are working on doing smaller, targeted vaccine events and soon individual businesses will be able to request their own vaccine clinics. Collins also said the state is on track to fully vaccinate 60% of the population by June 30, which could completely reopen the state.
As of Wednesday, 58.9% of eligible New Mexicans have had at least one vaccine shot, 45.4% are fully vaccinated. If everyone with a first shot gets their second, the state could reach that goal in mid-June.