Santa Fe County appears on track to meet both criteria in the state's red-to-green COVID-19 framework update tomorrow, which means it will likely remain under the turquoise designation with the least restrictions available under the public health law.
Every other week, the health department evaluates counties' case and test positivity rates over a 14-day period. Counties with fewer than eight cases per 100,000 and test positivity rates of less than 5% are classified as green and allowed larger business capacities and other activities. Those meeting one criteria are considered yellow and those meeting neither are red and face the most restrictions. Counties that maintain their green status for two consecutive evaluations become turquoise and have the fewest restrictions for indoor dining and other business capacities.
Two weeks ago at the last COVID-19 news update, Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said health officials were "doing a major reassessment of the red, yellow, green, turquoise framework."
That's because as the number of vaccinated people increases, officials expect to see decreased testing for COVID-19, particularly following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent guidance that asymptomatic vaccinated people do not require a test after potential exposures to the disease. The vast majority of people being tested, Scrase said, have not had symptoms. Thus, as fewer people take COVID-19 tests, the test positivity rates will increase.
Scrase tells SFR today he expects that reassessment to be four to six weeks in the offing and tomorrow's red-to-green update will still rely on the case and test positivity rates.
"We like the system we have," Scrase said. "The main thing that's happening in the conversations I'm having is we're looking to how we can use vaccination rates…as another factor in this process. We're looking more at, 'what is the bridge?' But one thing we need to do before we can move forward is get most of our counties into the green." Once there, "we're looking for ways of keeping our counties in the green."
Two weeks ago, 13 counties were turquoise, 10 were green and 10 were yellow. At that point, Santa Fe County had an average daily case rate over 14 days per 100,000 of 6.3 and a test positivity rate over the same time period of 1.75%. Calculating case and test positivity rates in advance of tomorrow, as SFR has done in the past, has become increasingly difficult as both rely on daily case counts and test numbers, and while the health department releases those figures, it does so noting they are "raw data…that has not yet been scrutinized to identify potential duplicates or late-arriving positives or negatives."
With that being said, Santa Fe County's raw count for daily cases for the last two weeks, as of today remains below the threshold. SFR projects, based on the data available and a little bit of napkin math, a case rate of 6.15 per 100,000. But decreased testing does appear to have driven up our test positivity rate, at least based on the raw numbers available via the health department's data dashboard. While still likely below the required 5% test positivity rate, Santa Fe County seems to have inched closer to 4% and to have had a significant drop-off in testing. Those are our projections at any rate.
The health department's weekly epidemiology report, published today, shows all of the state's public health regions, with the exception of the southeast, have growth rates above zero. Statewide, New Mexico is no longer meeting the seven-day rolling average target of 168 cases, which it finally achieved last week, albeit briefly, and is now up to 182, but continues meeting all of the other seven criteria.
New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie C. Collins, Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase and Aging and Long-Term Services Secretary Katrina will provide a COVID-19 and vaccine update tomorrow at 1 pm, which will stream live on the New Mexico Human Services Department's Facebook page, SFR's homepage, and stream with Spanish language interpreter on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's YouTube page.
New Mexico health officials today reported 181 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 192,773. The health department has designated 174,338 of those as recovered.
Bernalillo County had 81 cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 25 and Sandoval County with 13. Santa Fe County had six new cases.
The state also announced eight additional deaths; there have now been 3,960 fatalities.
As of today, 82 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*
Currently, 48.2% of New Mexicans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 30.8% are fully vaccinated.
A health department news release today said 99% of people in Phase 1 of the state's vaccination plan have received invitations for vaccinations. Phase 2—any New Mexican 16 years and older—began yesterday. The state also is encouraging people who have had a first dose already to update their vaccine registration, and to self-schedule their booster shot through the system.
People in congregate settings, such as state inmates, also are among those eligible in Phase 1. Corrections Department Public Information Officer Eric Harrison tells SFR via email that as of last week, 896 inmates and 1,599 staff have been vaccinated. "We are working closely with NMDOH to vaccinate inmates as supply becomes available," he wrote.
- 81 new cases in Bernalillo County
- 3 new cases in Chaves County
- 4 new cases in Cibola County
- 3 new cases in Curry County
- 25 new cases in Doña Ana County
- 5 new cases in Eddy County
- 3 new cases in Grant County
- 3 new cases in Lea County
- 1 new case in Lincoln County
- 1 new case in Luna County
- 2 new cases in McKinley County
- 4 new cases in Otero County
- 5 new cases in Rio Arriba County
- 13 new cases in Sandoval County
- 8 new cases in San Juan County
- 2 new cases in San Miguel County
- 6 new cases in Santa Fe County
- 2 new cases in Sierra County
- 1 new case in Socorro County
- 1 new case in Torrance County
- 1 new case in Union County
- 7 new cases in Valencia County
- A female in her 70s from Bernalillo County
- A second female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized
- A male in his 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions
- A male in his 90s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions
- A female in her 70s from Cibola County who was a resident of the Good Samaritan Society facility in Grants
- A male in his 60s from Curry County who had underlying conditions
- A female in her 80s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
- A female in her 80s from Valencia County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Senior Living Systems in Los Lunas
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:
- Advanced Health Care in Albuquerque
- Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
- Avamere at Fiesta Park in Albuquerque
- Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
- Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
- Casa del Sol Center in Las Cruces
- Casa Sandia in Albuquerque
- Desert Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hobbs
- Genesis Healthcare Uptown in Albuquerque
- Good Samaritan Society – Betty Dare in Alamogordo
- Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
- La Vida Llena Assisted Living in Albuquerque
- Mission Arch Center in Roswell
- The Montecito in Santa Fe
- New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
- Pacifica Senior Living in Santa Fe
- Princeton Place in Albuquerque
- Retirement Ranches in Clovis
- Santa Fe Care Center in Santa Fe
- Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
- Vecino Sanos Assisted Living in Santa Rosa
According to a health department news release, previously reported numbers included three cases that have been identified as duplicates (two in Bernalillo County and one in Cibola County)—these have now been corrected. One death reported on Jan. 6 of a male in his 60s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized was found to have been previously reported on Dec. 16 and has been corrected. County totals are subject to change upon further investigation and determination of residency of individuals positive for COVID-19.
- Bernalillo County: 55,145
- Catron County: 84
- Chaves County: 8,759
- Cibola County: 2,827
- Colfax County: 724
- Curry County: 5,050
- De Baca County: 134
- Doña Ana County: 24,019
- Eddy County: 6,684
- Grant County: 1,638
- Guadalupe County: 376
- Harding County: 9
- Hidalgo County: 355
- Lea County: 8,237
- Lincoln County: 1,596
- Los Alamos County: 503
- Luna County: 3,246
- McKinley County: 12,146
- Mora County: 169
- Otero County: 3,671
- Quay County: 427
- Rio Arriba County: 3,492
- Roosevelt County: 1,870
- Sandoval County: 11,474
- San Juan County: 13,839
- San Miguel County: 1,319
- Santa Fe County: 9,903
- Sierra County: 714
- Socorro County: 1,247
- Taos County: 1,621
- Torrance County: 685
- Union County: 246
- Valencia County: 6,459
Cases among people being held by federal agencies
- Cibola County Correctional Center: 446
- Otero County Federal Prison Facility: 444
- Otero County Processing Center: 198
- 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: 292
- Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 251
- Lea County Correctional Facility: 759
- Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 167
- Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 126
- Otero County Prison Facility: 472
- Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 217
- Roswell Correctional Center: 230
- Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 230
- Springer Correctional Center in Colfax County: 151
- Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 75
*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.