Confusion continues with the state's rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, with school representatives decrying the health department's decision to cancel a vaccination event Rio Rancho Public School employees that was scheduled to take place this week.

"The last minute cancellation of distribution of vaccines to Rio Rancho Public School Employees is a cruel and short-sighted decision by the New Mexico Department of Health," reads a statement released earlier today by American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly, National Education Association-New Mexico President Mary Parr-Sanchez and Rio Rancho School Employees Union President Billie Helean.

The statement describes what the group says was a last-minute reversal of the event as "doubly disappointing" and calls on the health department "to fully account for the shameful breakdown in this process and for an increased transparency about access and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to New Mexico's hardworking educator heroes."

Health Department Communications Director Matt Bieber tells SFR via email that "Where the miscommunication was DOH's fault, we apologize sincerely—and we take responsibility. We know how disappointing it must have been for communities in Sandoval County—and we are doing everything we can to avoid such incidents going forward."

In theory, Phase1B of the state's vaccination plan, which New Mexico is currently in, includes people 75 years and older; those with certain underlying conditions; and some frontline workers, such as teachers, who have face-to-face contact in their jobs. However, those groups are supposed to be vaccinated in sequence, with people 75 years and older going first.

In a webinar with news media this morning, health department representatives acknowledged there have been problems with the roll-out, and showed how providers are able to schedule events on the back end of the state's vaccine dashboard in order to generate codes. There is no stop mechanism, however, if someone is scheduled who is within Phase1B but not in the current sub-phase, although the state is working on mechanisms to ensure event codes can't be shared.

The news webinar this morning, however, specified that journalists could not record, screen grab or quote health department representatives, but was instead being provided information about how the system works "on background." This set-up makes it challenging for this reporter to convey its contents. There have not been any other public news conferences this week with either Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins or Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

While "on background" can sometimes mean different things to different journalists, generally it is reserved for one-on-one conversations, is agreed upon beforehand by journalists and is followed by journalists then seeking out attributable confirmation to what they have learned. It essentially functions as a form of anonymity for the person providing the information.

"Background information is always helpful and you can do that in a one-on-one session," New Mexico Foundation for Open Government Executive Director Melanie J. Majors tells SFR, "but if you're actually calling all the media together, the media's expectation is they are going to report on this. The media doesn't have time to do their job twice. Background is part of the overall process when you're working, but not in this context."

Moreover, Majors notes, "As someone who has provided media training throughout New Mexico for more than a decade, there is no such thing as 'off the record.' Secondly, the information they are providing is much too important to have any kind of embargo on its release."

Communications Director Matt Bieber, who ran the "webinar," in response to questions from SFR about its protocol, said via email "No one even asked for this webinar. We offered it up because we thought it would help the NM press corps learn more about how the system worked…We also encouraged you to report on what you learned—just not use direct quotes or screenshots."

Other media specialists agree whatever the intent, placing limits on the reporting sets a bad precedent.

"This is bad practice," Gwyneth Doland, who teaches media, law and ethics at the University of New Mexico's Department of Communications and Journalism, says. "By telling the media that they can look but not touch and talk but not report, you are making everyone feel like there's something to hide. And there probably isn't, so why make people suspicious when you don't have to? This is needless censorship."

Bieber, in the same email, acknowledged for attribution the ongoing confusion regarding the state's vaccination phases and said the department "is redoubling its communication efforts to ensure that the press, public, and providers all understand exactly how the phased vaccination schedule works—including who is eligible for vaccination at this time. We also expect providers to know—and follow— those requirements. We understand that there has been some confusion, and we are working very hard—through an updated website, press releases, press conferences, and upcoming communications opportunities between DOH and providers—to ensure that all New Mexicans have the information they need."

Bieber said, for now, providers who have vaccinated out of sub-phase won't phase repercussions for doing so.

"We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis," he writes. "And the most complex vaccination operation in our country's history. We recognize that the vast majority of providers want to do the right thing—and they're working very hard to do so. We are collaborating with them and helping them navigate this process. At this stage, we are not taking a punitive approach…But it's important to understand: there is a serious gap between vaccine supply and vaccine demand. And while that gap remains, we have to ensure that vaccine doses go to those who are most exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19. That's how we ensure that our limited doses do the most good. That's how we save the most lives."

As of today, the state's vaccination dashboard reports that 185,923 vaccine doses have been administered, approximately 87% of what has been received by the state.

New Mexico health officials today reported 921 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 167,731. Of those, the health department has designated 92,109 cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County led with 208 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 136 and San Juan County with 63. As it did yesterday, Santa Fe County had 39 cases.

The state also announced 33 additional deaths, including four from Santa Fe County: a man in his 60s who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions; a woman in her 70s; a woman in her 80s who had underlying conditions; and a man in his 90s who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions

. There have now been 104 deaths in Santa Fe County and 3,077 statewide.

As of today, 624 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

New cases

  • 208 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 22 new cases in Chaves County
  • 13 new cases in Cibola County
  • 6 new cases in Colfax County
  • 16 new cases in Curry County
  • 136 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 40 new cases in Eddy County
  • 9 new cases in Grant County
  • 1 new case in Hidalgo County
  • 22 new cases in Lea County
  • 14 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 14 new cases in Los Alamos County
  • 52 new cases in Luna County
  • 60 new cases in McKinley County
  • 23 new cases in Otero County
  • 3 new cases in Quay County
  • 21 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 7 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 51 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 63 new cases in San Juan County
  • 8 new cases in San Miguel County
  • 39 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 3 new cases in Sierra County
  • 13 new cases in Socorro County
  • 9 new cases in Taos County
  • 5 new cases in Torrance County
  • 1 new case in Union County
  • 29 new cases in Valencia County
  • 7 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility
  • 26 new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County

New fatalities

  • A male in his 40s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 50s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 60s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Ladera Center in Albuquerque
  • A second female in her 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized, had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Ladera Center in Albuquerque
  • A male in his 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized
  • A second male in his 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A third male in his 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 70s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A second male in his 70s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized, had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • A female in her 90s from Colfax County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Colfax Long-Term Care Center in Springer
  • A second female in her 90s from Colfax County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Colfax Long-Term Care Center in Springer
  • A male in his 50s from Curry County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from Eddy County who was hospitalized
  • A male in his 70s from Eddy County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 90s from Eddy County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Artesia Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Artesia
  • A female in her 80s from Grant County
  • A female in her 20s from Lincoln County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 70s from McKinley County
  • A second male in his 70s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A third male in his 70s from McKinley County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 80s from Rio Arriba County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 30s from San Juan County
  • A female in her 40s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from San Juan County who was hospitalized
  • A second female in her 70s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A third female in her 70s from San Juan County who was hospitalized, had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Red Rocks Care Center in Gallup
  • A male in his 80s from San Juan County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Cedar Ridge Inn facility in Farmington
  • A male in his 60s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized, had underlying conditions and was a resident of some facility not named specifically in the state’s report
  • A female in her 70s from Santa Fe County
  • A female in her 80s from Santa Fe County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 90s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 60s from Valencia County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 70s from Valencia 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 Grand Senior Living
  • Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
  • 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 Fiesta Park in Albuquerque
  • Avamere at Rio Rancho
  • Avamere at Roswell
  • Aztec Healthcare in Aztec
  • Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • BeeHive Homes of Albuquerque West
  • BeeHive Homes Clovis
  • BeeHive Homes Farmington
  • BeeHive Homes Gallup
  • BeeHive Homes Santa Fe
  • BeeHive Homes Taylor Ranch in Albuquerque
  • BeeHive Homes Volcano Cliffs in Albuquerque
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
  • Bloomfield Nursing and Rehabilitation in Bloomfield
  • The Bridge of Farmington in Farmington
  • Brookdale Santa Fe
  • Brookdale Valencia in Albuquerque
  • Calibre Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Las Cruces
  • Camino Retirement Homes 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 de Shalom in Rio Rancho
  • Casa del Sol Center in Las Cruces
  • Casa Real in Santa Fe
  • Cedar Ridge Inn in Farmington
  • Clovis Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Colfax Long-Term Care Center in Springer
  • Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
  • El Castillo in Santa Fe
  • Elmcroft of Quintessence in Albuquerque
  • Fairwinds Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • Fort Bayard Medical Center in Santa Clara
  • Golden Hands Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Good Life Senior Living in Carlsbad
  • Good Life Senior Living in Lovington
  • Good Samaritan Society – Manzano del Sol Village in Albuquerque
  • Good Samaritan Society Grants
  • Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
  • Good Samaritan Society Socorro
  • Haven Care Dogwood House in Rio Rancho
  • Heartland Continuing Care Center in Portales
  • Ladera Center in Albuquerque
  • Laguna Rainbow Care Center in Casa Blanca
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • Las Palomas Center in Albuquerque
  • La Vida Llena Healthcare in Albuquerque
  • The Legacy at Santa Fe
  • Life Spire Assisted Living North Albuquerque Acres in Albuquerque
  • Lovington Healthcare in Lovington
  • McKinley Center in Gallup
  • The Meadows Home at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas
  • Mescalero Care Center in Mescalero
  • Mimbres Memorial Nursing Home in Deming
  • Mission Arch Center in Roswell
  • The Montecito in Santa Fe
  • MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care of Albuquerque
  • MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care of Santa Fe
  • Muros de Salvación in Albuquerque
  • The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho Assisted Living in Rio Rancho
  • New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
  • Odelia Healthcare (Camino Healthcare) in Albuquerque
  • Pacifica Senior Living in Santa Fe
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Ravenna Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • Retreat Healthcare in Rio Rancho
  • The Rio at Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • Rio Rancho Center
  • Sandia Ridge Center in Albuquerque
  • Sandia View Bosque Trails Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Sandia View Spain Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • Senior Living Systems in Los Lunas
  • Sierra Health Care Center in Truth or Consequences
  • Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Los Alamos
  • South Valley Care Center in Albuquerque
  • Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites in Albuquerque
  • St. Anthony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Clovis
  • Sugar Hollow Assisted Living Center in Albuquerque
  • Sunny Day Assisted Living in Gallup
  • Vecinos Santos Assisted Living in Santa Rosa
  • The Village at Northrise in Las Cruces
  • Village Retirement Community in Roswell
  • Vida Encantada Nursing & Rehabilitation in Las Vegas
  • Vista Sandia Assisted Living in Albuquerque
  • The Watermark at Cherry Hills in Albuquerque
  • Welbrook Transitional Rehabilitation in Farmington
  • Wellesley Care Home in Albuquerque
  • Wheatfields Senior Living Community in Clovis
  • White Sands Healthcare in Hobbs

Statewide cases

According to a state news release, previously reported numbers included 12 cases that have been identified as duplicates (three in Bernalillo County, one in Curry County, three in Doña Ana County, one in Lea County, one in Otero County, one in Sandoval County and two in Valencia County) and one case that was not lab confirmed in Los Alamos County—these have now been corrected. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.

Bernalillo County: 47,410
Catron County: 70
Chaves County: 7,994
Cibola County: 2,533
Colfax County: 644
Curry County: 4,629
De Baca County: 123
Doña Ana County: 20,383
Eddy County: 5,692
Grant County: 1,221
Guadalupe County: 321
Harding County: 8
Hidalgo County: 294
Lea County: 7,607
Lincoln County: 1,341
Los Alamos County: 418
Luna County: 2,786
McKinley County: 11,161
Mora County: 142
Otero County: 2,705
Quay County: 390
Rio Arriba County: 3,032
Roosevelt County: 1,727
Sandoval County: 9,762
San Juan County: 12,468
San Miguel County: 1,068
Santa Fe County: 8,698
Sierra County: 658
Socorro County: 1,075
Taos County: 1,388
Torrance County: 567
Union County: 209
Valencia County: 5,621

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 425
  • Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 435
  • Otero County Processing Center: 196
  • Torrance County Detention Facility: 47

Cases among people being held by the New Mexico Department of Corrections

  • Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 283
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 250
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 327
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 166
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 107
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 472
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 215
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 228
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 216
  • Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
  • Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 68

*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.