COVID-19 outlook improves for much of New Mexico

From Staff Reports
Las Cruces Sun-News
Seven counties are at a Yellow Level, one county is at Green Level and 25 counties are at Red Level according to the New Mexico Department of Health's gating criteria. Map published Jan. 27, 2021.

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health on Wednesday announced the updated statewide COVID-19 map for the two-week period beginning Jan. 27, with seven New Mexico counties at the Yellow Level and one at the Green Level, reflecting an improving overall COVID-19 outlook for the state.

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.

The thresholds are 8 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate below 5 percent.

The state releases new metrics every two weeks.

Twenty-eight of 33 counties saw improvements in their average daily per-capita rate of new cases in the last two weeks, and 29 counties saw improvements in their test positivity rate.

More:New Mexico schools didn't know Feb. 8 would be the date, but state officials say they are ready

The state’s most populous counties — Bernalillo, Doña Ana, Sandoval, San Juan and Santa Fe — each improved dramatically in both of the two health gating criteria metrics.

Seven New Mexico counties are now at the Yellow Level and Harding County remained at the Green Level.

Per-capita cases

Over the past two weeks, 28 counties saw their per-capita new daily case rate improve; two other counties (Harding and Socorro) saw no change. The improving counties are: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, Sandoval, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Torrance, Union and Valencia, with Catron, Lea, Sierra, Mora and Union seeing the greatest improvements by percentage.

Other than sparsely populated Harding County, the county with the lowest daily per-capita new case rate is Catron County, at 10.1 per 100,000 as of Jan. 27. It is followed by Union County (10.5), Mora County (14.1), Torrance County (21.5) and Quay County (25.5). 

The counties of Lincoln, Luna and Taos saw an increase in their per-capita new daily case rates.

Positivity rates

Over the past two weeks, 29 counties saw their test positivity rate improve, with one county (Harding) seeing no change. Those improving counties are: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, Sandoval, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Torrance, Union and Valencia, with De Baca, Catron, San Juan, Roosevelt, Colfax and Lea seeing the greatest increases by percentage.

More:New COVID-19 cases continue to decline across New Mexico

Other than sparsely populated Harding County, the county with the lowest daily per-capita new case rate is Union County, with 2.1 percent of tests returning positive as of Jan. 27. It is followed by Socorro County (3.56 percent), San Miguel County (3.96 percent), Grant County (4.35 percent) and Sierra County (4.55). 

The counties of Luna, Lincoln and Taos saw an increase in their test positivity rates, though Taos remains on the threshold of the Yellow Level at 6.07 percent of tests returned positive.

The public health order, the red-to-green framework and frequently asked questions are available at cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen.

The New Mexico Department of Health presented this slide representing the business restrictions for counties at red or "very high risk" status for COVID-19 on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.
The New Mexico Department of Health presented this slide representing the business restrictions for counties at yellow or "high risk" status for COVID-19 on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.
The New Mexico Department of Health presented this slide representing the business restrictions for counties at green or "medium risk" status for COVID-19 on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.