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Most of state moves to yellow, or green levels, as cases continue to fall

COVID-19 related restrictions will be eased in many parts of the state, as the number of cases continues to drop, with more than half of all counties improving out of the “red” level of restrictions.

Additionally, the state announced that it would no longer require a self-quarantine for those who visit New Mexico from “high-risk” states, but will still strongly advise those who arrive from states with a five percent positivity rate or a positive test rate of over 80 people per 1 million residents.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and two cabinet officials spoke about the positive news in a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s always more fun to do these press conferences when the news is good and the news remains good,” state Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said.

“I’m very excited about our progress, you should be too,” Lujan Grisham said. “This is an all-together New Mexico effort. And it says that we are getting closer and closer and closer to returning to a more normal environment, pre-pandemic.”

Lujan Grisham said that while vaccinations are important, that New Mexicans still need to abide by COVID-safe practices, which includes wearing masks, socially distancing, limiting travel and avoiding groups.

She also encouraged New Mexicans to continue seeking tests, such as the Vault test, which residents can take at home and send to be analyzed.

The state saw widespread improvement among counties, with four counties in the “green” level for medium risk and another 15 reached the “yellow” restriction level, or high risk. The rest of the state’s 33 counties remained in the “red” level, or very high risk, though some were very close to reaching yellow level.

To be in the state’s green zone, counties must have a daily case incidence rate of no more than 8 per 100,000 residents during the most recent two-week period and have a test positivity rate of 5 percent or lower. To reach yellow level, the county must reach one of those goals.

Lujan Grisham said that 29 of the state’s 33 counties had 10 percent or lower test positivity rate.

Counties in the yellow and green levels have lower COVID-19 restrictions, including opening indoor dining and higher capacity at essential retail businesses and places of worship.

Sierra County, with 11,076 residents, was the largest county to reach the green level and was joined by Harding, the least-populous county in the state, along with Union and Catron counties.

The state’s four most populous counties reached yellow level: Bernalillo, Doña Ana, Santa Fe and Sandoval counties.

San Juan County, the fifth-most populous county in the state, missed reaching yellow level by one positive test.

The two week time period to determine which counties are at which level was designed, Scrase said, to avoid counties from moving back and forth from level to level too frequently.

Vaccinations

The state’s vaccination efforts have increasingly been a focus of attention by residents and health officials in recent weeks.

Lujan Grisham said she believed the state had the ability to administer 50,000 shots per day, but “we just need more vaccine.”

With the decrease in cases and the steady and efficient administration of vaccines—Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said the state had administered 93 percent of the vaccines it had received, at a rate of about 9,000 shots per day—New Mexico was seeing 18 to 20 times more people vaccinated each day than positive tests.

Lujan Grisham also brought up the idea of mobile vaccination clinics, where the state, with the support of the federal government, the state would be able to access remote areas to administer COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“We haven’t identified the where yet, because we don’t have the what yet we don’t know exactly when they’re coming. It’s imminent.”

She said the Biden administration has told the state that they would be ready to move forward.

“I think New Mexico is likely to also lead the country in both this concept and the execution of this concept.”

Collins said the state is “putting in the paperwork to get that set up” and that they would have more information in the next couple of weeks.

Scrase spoke about new variants of COVID-19 and said they could pose problems not only with treatments for those who test positive for COVID-19, but also for vaccination efforts.

“There is early data about a variety of these variants that show some might be resistant to some of the treatments we have for coronavirus, and even one of them that could potentially be resistant to the vaccine that we’re all getting,” he said.

He said this shows the state is “in a bit of a race to get everyone vaccinated.”

Wednesday’s COVID numbers

On the same day, the state of New Mexico reported 512 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths related to the disease, one day after reporting 413 new cases and 19 additional deaths related to the disease.

As of Friday, 379 individuals were hospitalized for the disease, continuing the downward trend. This could include those from other states who are hospitalized in New Mexico, but would not include New Mexicans who are hospitalized in other states.

DOH has now found 178,790 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and reported 3,461 deaths related to the disease. Of the confirmed cases, 114,976 are designated as recovered by DOH.

One death of a male in his 70s from Santa Fe County, reported on Feb. 7, was found to have been previously reported on Feb. 1 and has been corrected.

DOH provided some information on each of the 31 newly reported deaths Wednesday.

  • A male in his 50s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions.
  • A second male in his 50s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. He was a resident of the Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque.
  • A female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions.
  • A second female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Sugar Hollow Assisted Living facility in Albuquerque.
  • A male in his 70s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque.
  • A female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 60s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. She was a resident of the Mission Arch Center in Roswell.
  • A male in his 50s from Cibola County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 40s from Curry County who was hospitalized and was a resident of the St. Anthony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis.
  • A male in his 60s from Curry County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 50s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 70s from Doña Ana County.
  • A male in his 70s from Doña Ana County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Calibre Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Las Cruces.
  • A male in his 50s from Eddy County who was hospitalized.
  • A male in his 60s from Eddy County.
  • A female in her 70s from Eddy County who was hospitalized.
  • A male in his 50s from Lea County who was hospitalized.
  • A female in her 60s from Lea County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 60s from Lea County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 70s from Luna County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 60s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 70s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 50s from Rio Arriba County who was hospitalized.
  • A male in his 60s from Rio Arriba County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A second male in his 60s from Rio Arriba County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 90s from Rio Arriba County who was hospitalized.
  • A female in her 70s from San Juan County who had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 70s from San Juan County who was a resident of the Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bloomfield.
  • A second male in his 70s from San Juan County who had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 60s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 70s from Santa Fe County.

And the 19 additional deaths reported on Tuesday:

  • A female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized.
  • A second female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who was a resident of the Sugar Hollow Assisted Living facility in Albuquerque.
  • A male in his 60s from Chaves County.
  • A male in his 70s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A second male in his 70s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A female in her 60s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A second female in her 60s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 40s from Luna County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 80s from Luna County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 70s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 60s from Roosevelt County who was hospitalized and was a resident of the Heartland Continuing Care Center in Portales.
  • A female in her 70s from Roosevelt County who was hospitalized.
  • A male in his 70s from Roosevelt County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. He was a resident of the Heartland Continuing Care Center in Portales.
  • A male in his 80s from Roosevelt County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A second male in his 80s from Roosevelt County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. He was a resident of the Heartland Continuing Care Center in Portales.
  • A male in his 60s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 80s from Socorro County who was a resident of the Good Samaritan Society facility in Socorro.
  • A male in his 80s from Taos County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.

DOH does not disclose which underlying condition any of the deceased had, only if one was present before death.

The most common underlying condition for those who died with COVID-19 was hypertension, followed by diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to the most recently available mortality update. Some of those who died had multiple comorbidities.

The New Mexico Environment Department’s Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist had 39 establishments as of Wednesday . These workplaces had two or more COVID-19 rapid responses in the last 14 days.

Testing details

The state coronavirus information page says the state has processed 2,458,248 tests as of Wednesday, 18,398 more than reported on Monday. The 925 positive cases on Tuesday and Wednesday represented 5.03 percent of the newly reported tests, though this calculation is not the same as the one used by the state for its gating criteria.

DOH identified two previously reported cases as duplicates (one in Cibola County and one in Otero County). These have been corrected.

The total number of cases per county, as of Monday, are as follows:

  • Bernalillo County: 50,637
  • Catron County: 73
  • Chaves County: 8,367
  • Cibola County: 2,658
  • Colfax County: 682
  • Curry County: 4,805
  • De Baca County: 130
  • Doña Ana County: 21,760
  • Eddy County: 6,165
  • Grant County: 1,391
  • Guadalupe County: 339
  • Harding County: 8
  • Hidalgo County: 330
  • Lea County: 7,930
  • Lincoln County: 1,475
  • Los Alamos County: 460
  • Luna County: 3,014
  • McKinley County: 11,776
  • Mora County: 150
  • Otero County: 3,036
  • Quay County: 409
  • Rio Arriba County: 3,311
  • Roosevelt County: 1,810
  • Sandoval County: 10,478
  • San Juan County: 13,241
  • San Miguel County: 1,167
  • Santa Fe County: 9,385
  • Sierra County: 675
  • Socorro County: 1,180
  • Taos County: 1,475
  • Torrance County: 613
  • Union County: 212
  • Valencia County: 5,959

DOH reported the following numbers of COVID-19 cases among individuals held by federal agencies at the following facilities:

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 426
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 441
  • Otero County Processing Center: 197
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 47

DOH reported the following numbers of COVID-19 cases among individuals held by the New Mexico Corrections Department at the following facilities:

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 286
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 251
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 400
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 166
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 117
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 472
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 215
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 229
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 217
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 74

DOH has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at 33 long-term care facilities—55 fewer than reported on Monday:

  • Adobe Assisted Living in Las Cruces
  • Advanced Health Care in Albuquerque
  • The Aldea House – Heaven Sent LLC in Albuquerque
  • The Aristocrat Assisted Living Center in Las Cruces
  • Artesia Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in Artesia
  • Atria Vista Del Rio in Albuquerque
  • Avamere at Rio Rancho
  • Aztec Healthcare in Aztec
  • BeeHive Homes Gallup
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation in Bloomfield
  • The Bridge of Farmington in Farmington
  • Brookdale Santa Fe
  • Care Free Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Carefirst Assisted Living Willow Wood House in Albuquerque
  • Casa Bella Residential Care in Las Cruces
  • Casa de Oro Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa Maria Health Care Center in Roswell
  • Casa Real in Santa Fe
  • Clovis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Colfax Long-Term Care Center in Springer
  • El Castillo in Santa Fe
  • Elmcroft of Quintessence in Albuquerque
  • Fairwinds Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Fort Bayard Medical Center in Santa Clara
  • Genesis San Juan Center in Farmington
  • Genesis Silver City Care Center in Silver City
  • Golden Hands Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care in Los Lunas
  • Good Life Senior Living in Carlsbad
  • Good Samaritan Society – Betty Dare in Alamogordo
  • Good Samaritan Society Socorro
  • Heartland Continuing Care Center in Portales
  • Ladera Center in Albuquerque

This article was originally published on Most of state moves to yellow, or green levels, as cases continue to fall

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