NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – All but three counties in the state have reached the turquoise tier for reopening. Right now, Chaves County is the only county in yellow. KRQE spoke with Dara Dana, the District 1 Chaves County Commissioner, who told KRQE she is shocked and frustrated that her county is still in the yellow.
Under the state’s gating criteria, counties just need to meet two criteria out of three to reach green. Dana said the state introducing vaccination rates as a new health metric won’t help her county get to green any time soon. Under the state’s new rules, counties must be at a fully vaccinated rate at or above a certain level.
Dana said that the new threshold could be a detriment for them moving forward because they have no intention of forcing people to get vaccinated. Dana is worried that more businesses will suffer because they still can’t increase their capacity just yet.
“We have a handful of businesses here in Chaves County that are on the brink, they’re on the brink of going out of business and that’s sad,” said Dana.
The state’s COVID dashboard shows the reason Chaves County stayed in the yellow as of May 5 is due to the fact its vaccination rate was about 31%, about 9% under the most recent target of 40%. They also need to slightly lower the average daily case rate per 100,000 people.
The governor has said the state could fully reopen by the end of June if 60% of eligible New Mexicans are fully vaccinated. Catron and Valencia counties are both in the green tier.