The New Mexico Department of Health says fraudulent cards purporting to exempt holders from abiding by the public health order requiring face masks are being distributed in Santa Fe County. They are fake, the health department says, and creating and or using them could result in being charged with a fourth degree felony for forgery under New Mexico law.

DOH says this card is fake and using it is a crime.
DOH says this card is fake and using it is a crime.

According to a news release, the health department is working with the state Attorney General's office "to ensure anyone issuing fraudulent exemption cards is prosecuted appropriately." A health department spokesman tells SFR the state was alerted to the use of the cards by a constituent and it is unknown how many cards there might be in the community.

While the cards appear to have the state Health Department and US Justice Department logos, neither issued such cards and both have issued alerts regarding their illegitimacy. In a news statement, Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said of the fake cards: "People lying about a medical condition to get out of wearing a face mask literally puts their lives and that of those around them at risk."

Legitimate exemptions from face masks, which New Mexico currently requires in all public spaces except when eating or drinking, potentially include: the deaf or hard of hearing; people with intellectual or developmental disabilities; and younger children for extended periods of time. However, everyone is required to wear some sort of face covering unless they can provide alternative instruction from a healthcare provider.

The fake exemption cards reported today emerge as New Mexico continues to lower its number of daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths. New Mexico health officials today reported 180 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total number of cases to 22,816. According to a state news release, the health department has designated 9,744 of those cases as recovered.

Doña Ana County had the most new cases reported today: 37, followed by Lea County with 35 and Bernalillo County with 31. Santa Fe County had three new cases today.

The state also announced two additional deaths today, both from McKinley County; there have now been 695 fatalities.

As of today, 119 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

New cases

  • 31 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 10 new cases in Chaves County
  • 5 new cases in Curry County
  • 37 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 18 new cases in Eddy County
  • 35 new cases in Lea County
  • 1 new case in Los Alamos County
  • 11 new cases in McKinley County
  • 1 new case in Otero County
  • 3 new cases in Quay County
  • 1 new case in Rio Arriba County
  • 1 new case in Roosevelt County
  • 4 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 5 new cases in San Juan County
  • 1 new case in San Miguel County
  • 3 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 1 new case in Socorro County
  • 3 new cases in Taos County
  • 9 new cases in Valencia County

New fatalities

  • A male in his 70s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
  • A male in his 80s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.

Congregate facilities

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at the following facilities:

  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
  • Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • BeeHive Homes of Farmington in Farmington
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
  • Bonney Family Home in Gallup
  • Brookdale Santa Fe in Santa Fe
  • Camino Healthcare in Albuquerque
  • Casa Arena Blanca Nursing Center in Alamogordo
  • Casa Contenta Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Casa de Oro Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa de Sunview in Albuquerque
  • Casa Real in Santa Fe
  • Clayton Nursing and Rehabilitation in Clayton
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • Fort Bayard Medical Center in Santa Clara
  • GoodLife Senior Living in Carlsbad
  • Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces in Las Cruces
  • Good Samaritan Society Socorro in Socorro
  • Heartfelt Manor in Roswell
  • Ladera Center in Albuquerque
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington
  • Life Spire Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Little Sisters of the Poor in Gallup
  • Lovington Healthcare in Lovington
  • McKinley Care Center in Gallup
  • The Meadows Home at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • Montebello on Academy in Albuquerque
  • MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care in Rio Rancho
  • The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho
  • New Mexico State Veterans’ Home in Truth or Consequences
  • North Ridge Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Albuquerque
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ravenna Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • Retreat Healthcare in Rio Rancho
  • The Rio at Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • Rio Rancho Center in Rio Rancho
  • Saint Anthony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Las Cruces
  • Sandia Ridge Center in Albuquerque
  • Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Los Alamos
  • Sierra Health Care Center, Inc. in Truth or Consequences
  • Sierra Hills Assisted Living in Truth or Consequences
  • Sierra Springs Assisted Living in Los Lunas
  • Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites in Albuquerque
  • Sunset Villa Care Center in Roswell
  • Welbrook Senior Living Las Cruces in Las Cruces
  • Wheatfields Senior Living in Clovis
  • White Sands Healthcare in Hobbs
  • The Woodmark at Uptown in Albuquerque

Statewide cases

According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included the following errors that have now been corrected: Three cases were identified as duplicates: one in Bernalillo County, one in McKinley County and one in Santa Fe County. Three cases were not lab confirmed: one in Lea County, one in Luna County and one in Socorro County. One case in Lea County has been identified as an out-of-state resident. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

  • Bernalillo County: 5,226
  • Catron County: 5
  • Chaves County: 485
  • Cibola County: 371
  • Colfax County: 18
  • Curry County: 569
  • Doña Ana County: 2,554
  • Eddy County: 336
  • Grant County: 71
  • Guadalupe County: 32
  • Harding County: 1
  • Hidalgo County: 90
  • Lea County: 863
  • Lincoln County: 130
  • Los Alamos County: 24
  • Luna County: 254
  • McKinley County: 4,077
  • Mora County: 6
  • Otero County: 204
  • Quay County: 37
  • Rio Arriba County: 319
  • Roosevelt County: 168
  • Sandoval County: 1,146
  • San Juan County: 3,069
  • San Miguel County: 46
  • Santa Fe County: 660
  • Sierra County: 32
  • Socorro County: 75
  • Taos County: 112
  • Torrance County: 61
  • Union County: 30
  • Valencia County: 441

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 313
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 280
  • Otero County Processing Center: 159
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 44

Cases among people being held by the Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 25
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 4
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 1
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 1
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 472
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 1
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 4

*Per the health department, hospitalization figures include people who were tested elsewhere but are hospitalized in New Mexico, but don't include people who were tested here but are hospitalized out of state.