In a news conference earlier this afternoon, Centers for for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced new guidance for people who have been fully vaccinated: They don’t need to wear masks indoors or outside or socially distance (mostly).

The decision comes, Walensky said, as cases, deaths and hospitalizations continue to decline nationwide, and in the wake of mounting “data and evidence” that shows the vaccines’ real-world efficacy, their ability to ward off COVID-19 variants and “our growing understanding of the low risk of transmission to others.” Those factors, combined with “universal access” to vaccines for people 12 years and older following the CDC’s endorsement yesterday of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15, led the CDC to update its guidance.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” she said. “We have all longed for this moment where we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

There are, of course, exceptions: Everyone must still mask and distance at medical facilities and long-term care and congregate facilities. Masking should still take place when traveling, whether it’s locally by bus or by plane, and in airports and other transportation hubs. People who are immune compromised should speak to their physicians, Walensky said, and “if things get worse, there is always the chance we will need to make change to this recommendation.”

Another exception: if masks are required by state, local, tribal or other laws. Indeed, New Mexico’s current public health law requires masks in all public settings, and requires social distancing and various capacity limits at businesses and other venues depending on the county’s status in the state’s red-to-green framework.

The governor’s press secretary, Nora Meyers Sackett, tells SFR via email that DOH “is reviewing the CDC’s newly released guidance for fully vaccinated individuals” and the state expects “adjustments to the state’s public health order to be made imminently after a thorough evaluation of the new information.”

At the end of April, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the state would end its red-to-green rules and completely reopen if able to fully vaccinate 60% of residents. As of today, 51% of residents have been fully vaccinated. And 62.3% of eligible New Mexicans have received at least one dose.

“We’re well on our way to 60% fully vaccinated,” Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said in a statement, “and a long-awaited reopening.”

A DOH spokesman also confirmed that vaccination for New Mexico residents 12- to 15-years-old, following CDC affirmation of the Pfizer vaccine for that age-group, would begin immediately. Vaccinations for New Mexicans under age 18 require parental consent, and Pfizer is the only vaccine available for anyone under 18. Parents can register children between the ages of 12 and 18 here.

New Mexico health officials today reported 202 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 200,432. The health department has designated 185,567 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 73 new cases, followed by San Juan County with 32 and Torrance County with 18. Santa Fe County had 10 new cases.

The state also announced two additional deaths, including a man in his 60s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions, the county’s 145th fatality. A man in his 50s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions also died recently. There have now been 4,112 total fatalities statewide.

Hospitalizations continue to decrease, with 106 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.*

New cases

  • 73 new cases in Bernalillo County
  • 6 new cases in Chaves County
  • 2 new cases in Cibola County
  • 10 new cases in Curry County
  • 8 new cases in Doña Ana County
  • 1 new case in Eddy County
  • 2 new cases in Grant County
  • 2 new cases in Lincoln County
  • 4 new cases in McKinley County
  • 2 new cases in Otero County
  • 1 new case in Quay County
  • 1 new case in Rio Arriba County
  • 4 new cases in Roosevelt County
  • 8 new cases in Sandoval County
  • 32 new cases in San Juan County
  • 1 new case in San Miguel County
  • 10 new cases in Santa Fe County
  • 2 new cases in Sierra County
  • 1 new case in Socorro County
  • 1 new case in Taos County
  • 18 new cases in Torrance County
  • 12 new cases in Valencia County
  • 1 new case among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility

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
  • The Aristocrat Assisted Living Center in Alamogordo
  • Bear Canyon Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Belen
  • Brookdale Santa Fe
  • Brookdale Valencia in Albuquerque
  • Canyon Transitional Rehabilitation Center in Albuquerque
  • Casa de Oro in Las Cruces
  • Desert Peaks Assisting Living and Memory Care in Las Cruces
  • Genesis Healthcare Uptown in Albuquerque
  • Genesis Rio Rancho Center
  • Genesis Silver City Care Center in Silver City
  • Good Samaritan Society – Betty Dare in Alamogordo
  • Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces
  • Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad
  • The Meadows Home at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas
  • New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences
  • The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque
  • Retirement Ranches in Clovis
  • The Rio at Las Estancias in Albuquerque
  • Sunset Vista Senior Living Center in Silver City
  • Vista Hermosa in Santa Fe
  • Welbrook Senior Living in Las Cruces

Statewide cases

According to a health department news release, previously reported numbers included two cases in Bernalillo County that have been identified as duplicates—these have now been corrected. One death reported on Apr. 28 of a female in her 60s from Sandoval County was incorrectly reported 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: 57,776
  • Catron County: 93
  • Chaves County: 8,967
  • Cibola County: 2,876
  • Colfax County: 763
  • Curry County: 5,195
  • De Baca County: 158
  • Doña Ana County: 24,746
  • Eddy County: 6,844
  • Grant County: 1,710
  • Guadalupe County: 404
  • Harding County: 10
  • Hidalgo County: 361
  • Lea County: 8,286
  • Lincoln County: 1,702
  • Los Alamos County: 525
  • Luna County: 3,337
  • McKinley County: 12,289
  • Mora County: 170
  • Otero County: 3,908
  • Quay County: 505
  • Rio Arriba County: 3,597
  • Roosevelt County: 1,961
  • Sandoval County: 11,975
  • San Juan County: 15,034
  • San Miguel County: 1,353
  • Santa Fe County: 10,268
  • Sierra County: 765
  • Socorro County: 1,316
  • Taos County: 1,669
  • Torrance County: 769
  • Union County: 248
  • Valencia County: 6,736

Cases among people being held by federal agencies

  • Cibola County Correctional Center: 445
  • 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: 298
  • Guadalupe County Correctional Facility: 252
  • Lea County Correctional Facility: 762
  • Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 167
  • Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 128
  • Otero County Prison Facility: 473
  • Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 218
  • Roswell Correctional Center: 229
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 229
  • 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.