New Mexico to loosen COVID-19 health metrics and sets for restriction removal

New Mexico
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SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — New Mexico will loosen key health metrics used to assign risk levels to counties under the Red-Yellow-Green COVID-19 model, state officials announced.

As counties across the state improve their vaccination rates, the color-coded model will include criteria that benefit them, according to state officials. On Wednesday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham announced a statewide goal. When 60% of eligible New Mexico citizens have been vaccinated, New Mexico will gradually reduce the color-coded risk model, and remove most COVID-related restrictions on commercial activities.

State officials added that a mask requirement while around other people will remain in place, and other COVID-related safe practices will be required for specific activities.

“I believe that New Mexico, by some time in June, will have fully vaccinated enough of our state that we can shed these restrictions and frameworks and instead move closer to a simpler new phase, from fighting to ultimately monitoring the pandemic,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, “where businesses and commercial and community activity can safely occur at the same open level all across the state. We are close and getting closer.”

Gov. Grisham said the timing of restriction loosening will depend on citizens registering for the vaccine when eligible, and getting their shots in a timely fashion.

According to New Mexico state officials, effective Friday, April 30, the health metrics that will be used to determine a county’s risk level will be:

  • 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 percent 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, that will increase 5% every other week as more vaccinations are completed.
  • As an example, the vaccination rate metric will increase to 45 percent for the next biweekly map update on May 19.

“Our intention here is and has always been to ensure the color-coding of the map – and the associated requirements for each county – continue to match the actual risk level on the ground in each county,” said Human Services Secretary David Scrase, M.D.

In a news release state officials explained that “a county that meets none of the criteria upon the biweekly Department of Health map update will be at the Red Level. A county meeting one criteria will be at the Yellow Level. A county meeting two criteria is at the Green Level. A county meeting all three criteria, or having maintained the Green Level for two consecutive biweekly map update periods, is at the Turquoise Level.”

“In addition, counties that reach the Turquoise Level will move to a four-week update, as opposed to biweekly. In other words, once a county reaches the Turquoise Level, as of May 5, they will maintain the Turquoise Level for at least the next four weeks, whereas up until now the time period between updates has been two weeks.”

“New Mexicans should continue to get vaccinated at the very first opportunity,” said Health Secretary Tracie Collins, M.D. “Not only will it hasten the end of the worst of the pandemic, it will enhance counties’ and communities’ ability to safely begin more and more commercial and day-to-day activities without endangering public health.”

For more information on New Mexico COVID-19 vaccination efforts, including how to register, click here.

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