SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins, Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase, and Aging and Long-Term Services Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez provided a COVID-19 webinar update on Wednesday, April 7.
Some areas of the state are getting ready for what they hope and expect to be a busy tourist season and right now, people there want to know if there will be a statewide vaccine passport requirement. “At the present time, we do not have any kind of plan for passports. There are some states that are and some states that aren’t. You know, private businesses are free to impose any kind of restrictions they want to,” Dr. Scrase said.
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He says they’re waiting for the feds to take the lead on vaccine passports. But he and Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins also said the NMDOH could add a component to their app, which would make it easier for places or businesses to verify someone has, in fact, been vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, five New Mexico counties are now “majority vaccinated,” meaning more than half of eligible people in Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Mora, Cibola, and Rio Arriba counties have at least one shot. The state says overall, more than 50% of New Mexicans 16 or older have at least one shot, and every person in phase one of vaccine distribution has received an invitation to schedule an apointment.
Statewide, the vaccine is making a difference. For every new case, 92 people are vaccinated. But one place it’s being really impactful is long-term care facilities. “Since the beginning of our vaccine rollout, the average number of daily deaths have dropped from nearly 10 deaths a day, to less than one death per day,” said Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez of the Aging and Long-term Services Department.
Hotrum-Lopez says facilities have not seen an increase in cases or any outbreaks at home since they opened up to visitors two weeks ago. However statewide, cases are flatlining. even going up a little bit in the metro.
That’s all happening as Dr. Scrase says more contagious and deadly variants are spreading fast in all of the state’s bordering New Mexico. He says a great defense against that more contagious and deadly variant is the vaccine – any of them.
The state is expecting a smaller shipment of vaccines next week, down from about 20,000 from this week. The reason for the drop in vaccines is because of a lack of Johnson and Johnson vaccine. This week, the state got nearly 31,000 doses. Next week, the state is only expecting 3,700.