Santa Fe County had the third highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the state today—20—but for now remains turquoise under New Mexico’s public health law and red-to-green framework, meeting both of the metrics for case and test positivity rates over the last two weeks: 5.8 cases per 100,000 and 1.67%, respectively (just slightly higher than two weeks ago). Santa Fe has been meeting both criteria since March 10.

Currently, counties must meet two benchmarks assessed every two weeks: a case rate of 8 per 100,000 over the two-week period and a test positivity rate of 5% or lower. Counties meeting neither are considered red and have the most restrictions; those meeting one are yellow. Counties that meet both benchmarks are green and have fewer constrictions and those remaining green for two consecutive biweekly assessments turn turquoise and have the fewest restrictions of all.

At the end of March, health officials modified the metrics for smaller counties, which are now all treated as though they have populations of 6,250, which allows for seven or fewer cases in the two-week time period. State officials also plan to unveil new assessment criteria for all counties in two weeks.

In today’s update, nine counties, regressed, with Catron, Chaves, Eddy, Harding, Lincoln, Rio Arriba, Sierra and Socorro counties reverting to the yellow level, and Colfax County moving back to red, the only county in the most restrictive category.

Five counties advanced to less restrictive levels: Cibola, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Otero and San Miguel.

Overall, 14 New Mexico counties are now the turquoise level, three are green, 15 are yellow and one is red.

The map on the left shows counties' statuses two weeks ago compared with today's update to the public health red-to-green framework. State officials plan to introduce changes to the metrics used in two weeks.
The map on the left shows counties' statuses two weeks ago compared with today's update to the public health red-to-green framework. State officials plan to introduce changes to the metrics used in two weeks.

During today’s COVID-19 update, Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said he was “disappointed” to see some counties regressing, but remained optimistic that “we will be an almost completely green and turquoise state by the end of May at the latest.”

Scrase also previewed changes officials are considering for the benchmarks used to evaluate the counties, as well as the statewide gating criteria. These include reconsidering the 5% test positivity rate, as test positivity rates are expected to rise as COVID-19 testing declines (fully vaccinated people are not recommended for COVID-19 testing if they are asymptomatic).

Health officials also are considering whether the state can “handle” a higher daily rolling case rate above 168 and will likely remove targets of Personal Protective Equipment from the statewide gating criteria, which stems from its scarcity during the earlier part of the pandemic. Scrase said the state also hopes to incorporate county-level vaccination rates into the evaluation criteria. Lastly, he said they are looking at whether counties that turn turquoise can be kept at that level for longer than the two-week evaluation period.

Health officials are looking at changes to the red-to-green framework metrics as well as the statewide gating criteria, which they plan to introduce in two weeks.
Health officials are looking at changes to the red-to-green framework metrics as well as the statewide gating criteria, which they plan to introduce in two weeks.

“I promise I’ll have some sort of definitive new idea of what this is going to look like for all of you in two weeks,” Scrase said. “The one last thing I want to say about the revisions to red-yellow-green, they cannot make things worse for any county, they can only help.”

State health officials today reported 187 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 195,783. The health department has designated 177,084 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 69 new cases, followed by San Juan County with 32. Santa Fe County had the third highest number of new cases, 20, 15 of which were in the Southside 87507 ZIP code, which ranked first for the ZIP code with the most new cases today.

The state also announced 10 additional deaths from Bernalillo and Doña Ana counties; there have now been 4,020 fatalities.

As of today, 124 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.*

Overall, Scrase said, declining cases have hit a plateau, but hospitalizations have mostly decreased and the Los Alamos National Laboratory modeling team expects hospitalizations and deaths to decline in the coming four weeks. Scrase said that hospital leaders report that while they have seen some upticks in COVID-19 hospitalizations, those have primarily been among younger people (under 60), with a decrease in the severity of illness and lengths of stay.

While declining COVID-19 cases appear to have plateaued, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decrease.
While declining COVID-19 cases appear to have plateaued, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decrease.

New Mexico has experienced an uptick in some of the COVID-19 variants, particularly B.1.1.7, the variant originating in the United Kingdom. On April 7, the state had only had 39 cases of the faster-spreading variant. Now it has 142. The good news, he noted, is that the B.1.1.7 variant “does not seem to cause more severe illness” and “is not more resistant to the Pfizer vaccine… [and] my belief is it will not end up being more resistant to the Moderna vaccine.”

The state does not have either of the variants traced to South Africa or Brazil. Scrase said updates on New Mexico variants will be given at the now biweekly news conferences because “we want you to know we’re watching it closely.”

NM has had an increase of the B.1.1.7 variant
NM has had an increase of the B.1.1.7 variant

Currently, 57% of New Mexicans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 39.4 % are fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, 62.1% have had at least one dose and 39.5 % are fully inoculated.

Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said the state received 104,440 COVID-19 vaccines this week, and that supply is now meeting demand in the state. The health department intends to allow all New Mexicans 16 years and older be able to self-schedule their vaccines in the next week or so, she said. Currently, anyone 40 years and older can do so, and everyone can self-schedule their booster shots.

Santa Fe County in partnership with the Aging and Long Term Services Department, Albertsons and other agencies will be holding a drive-through vaccine event from 9 am to 5 pm this Friday, April 23 at the county fairgrounds. The event is by appointment so participants will need to register with the state to receive an appointment time.

Collins also emphasized that vaccines are free and no government identification is required to receive them. “Vaccine sites are safe,” Collins said. “and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is required to stay away from vaccine sites, unless there are extenuating circumstances.”

Health Secretary Dr. Collins emphasized that vaccine sites are safe for undocumented New Mexicans.
Health Secretary Dr. Collins emphasized that vaccine sites are safe for undocumented New Mexicans.

New cases

  • 69 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 3 new cases in Chaves County
  • 2 new cases in Cibola County
  • 2 new cases in Colfax County
  • 1 new case in Curry County
  • 17 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 5 new cases in Eddy County
  • 3 new cases in Grant County
  • 2 new cases in Lea County
  • 2 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 1 new case in Luna County
  • 5 new cases in McKinley County
  • 1 new case in Otero County
  • 4 new cases in Quay County
  • 2 new cases in Rio Arriba County
  • 1 new case in Roosevelt County
  • 13 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 32 new cases in San Juan County
  • 20 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 2 new cases in Torrance County

New fatalities

  • A female in her 30s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and 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 was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A second 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 female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 40s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions
  • A female in her 60s from Doña Ana County who had underlying conditions
  • A male in his 60s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized

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:

  • Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
  • Brookdale Santa Fe
  • Brookdale Valencia in Albuquerque
  • Good Samaritan Society – Betty Dare in Alamogordo
  • Genesis Healthcare Uptown in Albuquerque
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
  • Princeton Place in Albuquerque
  • Skies Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • White Sands Healthcare in Hobbs

Statewide cases

According to a health department news release, previously reported numbers included 12 cases that have been identified as duplicates (three in Bernalillo County, one in Chaves County, four in Doña Ana County, two in Lea County and two in Santa Fe County) and seven cases that were not lab confirmed (five in Bernalillo County and two in Santa Fe 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: 56,202
  • Catron County: 89
  • Chaves County: 8,841
  • Cibola County: 2,856
  • Colfax County: 745
  • Curry County: 5,073
  • De Baca County: 137
  • Doña Ana County: 24,396
  • Eddy County: 6,751
  • Grant County: 1,680
  • Guadalupe County: 376
  • Harding County: 10
  • Hidalgo County: 359
  • Lea County: 8,266
  • Lincoln County: 1,624
  • Los Alamos County: 511
  • Luna County: 3,275
  • McKinley County: 12,201
  • Mora County: 169
  • Otero County: 3,741
  • Quay County: 439
  • Rio Arriba County: 3,552
  • Roosevelt County: 1,877
  • Sandoval County: 11,742
  • San Juan County: 14,191
  • San Miguel County: 1,339
  • Santa Fe County: 10,031
  • Sierra County: 728
  • Socorro County: 1,299
  • Taos County: 1,648
  • Torrance County: 697
  • Union County: 247
  • Valencia County: 6,580

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: 293
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 251
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 762
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 167
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 127
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 472
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 218
  • 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.