Published: 3:16 pm, Wed. Apr. 21st, 2021
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health on Wednesday announced the updated statewide COVID-19 map for the two-week period beginning April 21, with 14 New Mexico counties at the Turquoise Level and three at the Green Level, at which there are fewer restrictions on commercial and day-to-day activities amid decreased virus risk.
The majority of the state’s counties reached or remain at the least restrictive levels. Fifteen counties are at the Yellow Level as of March 24. One is at the Red Level, signifying the highest risk.
Five counties advanced to a less restrictive level since the most recent biweekly map update: Cibola, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Otero and San Miguel. Nine counties, meanwhile, regressed to either the Yellow or Red Level: Catron, Chaves, EDDY, Harding, Lincoln, Rio Arriba, Sierra and Socorro regressed to the Yellow Level, and Colfax moved to the Red Level.
Even as New Mexico rapidly vaccinates eligible populations with all available supply, it is important that New Mexicans still seek out COVID-19 tests if they feel symptomatic, if they have traveled, if they have spent time unmasked in the company of others – particularly non-household members and particularly indoors. Getting tested not only helps slow the spread; it helps counties maintain their risk levels and advance to less restrictive levels when the viral risk in the community is sufficiently reduced. Please seek out COVID-19 testing at togethernm.org.
The state’s county-by-county system uses key health metrics – the per-capita daily incidence of new COVID-19 cases and average COVID-19 test positivity within county borders – to determine the level of public health risk and requirement for each county. A county that meets one criterion may operate at the Yellow Level; a county that meets both may operate at the Green Level. A county that has met both for two consecutive biweekly map updates may operate at the Turquoise Level.
Counties that met both of the health metric thresholds for two consecutive biweekly map updates and may operate at the Turquoise Level as of April 7 are: Cibola, Curry, De Baca, Lea, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Quay, Roosevelt, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Taos, Torrance and Union.
Counties that met both of the health metric thresholds and may operate at the Green Level as of April 7 are: Guadalupe, Hidalgo and Otero.
Counties that met one of the health metric thresholds and may operate at the Yellow Level as of April 7 are: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Dona Ana, EDDY, Grant, Harding, Lincoln, Luna, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan, Sierra, Socorro and Valencia.
Counties that met neither of the health metric thresholds and must operate at the Red Level are: Colfax.
The color-coded tier system – Red Level, Yellow Level, Green Level and Turquoise Level – enables counties to shed restrictions and provide local communities the flexibility to operate more day-to-day activities as soon as public health data show the virus is retreating within their borders.
The public health order, the red-to-green framework and frequently asked questions are all available at cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen, where New Mexicans can also view the test positivity rate and new case incidence for each county.
The categories and definitions for each risk level are available at cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen.
Counties at the Yellow Level have either a new COVID-19 case incidence rate of no greater than 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the most recent two-week period, or an average percent of positive COVID-19 test results over the most recent 14-day period less than or equal to 5%.
• Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but operations must be limited to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions
• Essential retail spaces: 33% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor)
• Food and drink establishments (if NM Safe Certified): 33% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoors dining; any establishment serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m. each night
• Close-contact businesses: 33% of maximum capacity or 20 customers at one time, whichever is smaller; 33% of any outdoor space on the premises
• Large entertainment venues: 25% of maximum capacity of any outdoor space on premises; indoor not permitted with the limited exception of operating up to 25% of maximum capacity for recording and broadcasting entertainment without any in-person audience
• Recreational facilities: 33% of any outdoor space on the premises; indoor not permitted
• Bars and clubs: May not operate
• **All other businesses: 33% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor)
• Houses of worship: May hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not exceed 33% of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises; may operate at 100% capacity outdoors
• Places of lodging: 60% of maximum occupancy for those that have completed NM Safe Certified training; 33% of maximum occupancy for all others; 5 guests maximum for vacation rentals
• Mass gatherings limit: 10 persons