2 Republican lawmakers asking for change in state’s gating criteria

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –Two Republican lawmakers are calling on the governor to make changes to the state’s Red to Turquoise county framework. This comes after three counties moved back to yellow this past week. 

House Minority Whip, Rep. Rod Montoya and State Senator William Sharer sent a letter to the governor on Thursday after San Juan, Guadalupe and Hidalgo counties went back into the yellow this past week under the Red to Turquoise framework.

That forced businesses to revert to more strict capacity limits. The two Republican lawmakers are pleading with the governor to change the gating criteria for reopening the state, claiming the test positivity rate is no longer a reliable gauge.

“Total positive cases in a community right now is a better mechanism to understand what is going on in that community,” said Montoya. “How many hospital beds are being used up, that’s a good way to determine what’s going on in that community.” 

Montoya believes focusing on those two factors would be a more accurate depiction of where our state stands in the pandemic and would ultimately be better for businesses. 

“Businesses and employees cannot continue to move forward, have the rug pulled out from under them, move forward again, this back and forth, or yo-yo effect, you just can’t plan that way, you can’t run a business that way,” said Montoya.     

State health officials have told KRQE News 13 they’ve been having discussions internally about potentially making adjustments to the framework. But likely won’t change any gating criteria for another few weeks. Health officials also said that the new criteria could involve a county’s vaccination rate. 

“We have more reliable data now about vaccines from the federal government, the vaccines we’re giving in the state as well and so we may introduce vaccination rates as another factor in that red-yellow-green-turquoise bridge to whatever we have after that,” said Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase.

Since those three counties were downgraded on Wednesday, Hidalgo County leaders and the Farmington mayor have told KRQE they also asked the state to reconsider the reopening criteria.  

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