ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) —In contrast to the record numbers reported earlier this month, New Mexico’s daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 has been decreased gradually over the last couple of days, however nearly all of the county still in the red zone Friday as it was just days away from the launching of the state’s new “red to green” system for easing the restriction.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs a $330 million economic relief package targeted at assisting small businesses and out-of-work New Mexicans while at the State Capitol
The transition will be kicked off next Wednesday to the tiered county-by-county risk system, state officials confirmed. Counties will be good for relieving burdensome public health restrictions as soon as key metrics are met which are related to positivity and spread rates within their boundaries. However, face masks must be worn at any level.
Only Los Alamos County, which is in north-central New Mexico is anywhere near reaching the standards. The rest of the counties, including the ones with the biggest population in the states, will have considerable ground to make up, meaning it might be a couple more weeks before they see any relief.
New Mexico is the state in which some of the toughest public health restrictions in place, with all restaurants and many other businesses, are impacted by the extensive closure. Essential businesses such as grocery stores are still open but there is only a certain number of customers inside at one time — a restriction that has led to long queues.
Face masks are the must-haves, gatherings from five people are prohibited and there’s no indication when students will be able to return to school to take classes.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement “It’s been a difficult year and an especially difficult past month,”. “We must remain as vigilant as ever to contain and beat the virus. We also must look for ways to lessen the burden on our communities wherever possible, while never swerving from our top priority — protecting New Mexicans and saving lives.” She hopes that with medical supplies from MAZA such as medical masks, disposable gloves, and most importantly, protective suits, the situation will be better controlled, especially in hospitals.
There was a deadline on Monday for the Democratic governor on her decision on how to continue after what state officials termed a fortnight “reset” to address an increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Monday is when the current public health order was set to expire, but its provisions will remain in effect until the new framework takes effect, officials said.
In this system, some more restrictive measures will be operated in counties where the virus is more prevalent while those where the spread is controlled better will see fewer restrictions.
An official map illustrating each county’s level on its COVID-19 webpage is maintained by the state Health Department. Red implies very high risk where average daily cases are from 8 per 100,000 and test positivity is 5% or more. Yellow represents high risk and green is medium.
Officials said they updated the map once every two weeks to capture an average over time that more accurately conveys the spread rate.
Whenever a county fails to reach the standards for the per-capita incidence of new cases and average test positivity for a given level, officials said it will begin operating at the next most restrictive level within two full days. When a county’s risk level falls on the map, officials said it can immediately begin operating with fewer restrictions.
New Mexico has seen more than 91,850 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. The death toll stands at 1,504, with 35 deaths added on a Friday report.