As most people have heard, New Mexico has made a number of very significant changes to its “Red to Green” COVID-19 framework that go into effect this Friday. While it is certainly past time to move forward and end these restrictions, this week’s changes were at least a step in the right direction.
First, Eddy County has gone from Yellow back to Turquoise- effective Friday. This is due to a change in the numbers used for gating criteria. However, the map will be updated again on May 5.
- The average positivity rate requirement has been changed from needing to be below 5 percent to 7.5 percent. Eddy County has a current positivity rate of 2.81 percent, meaning we’re doing well.
- The average “Cases per 100,000” requirement has been changed from 8 to 10. Eddy County has a “Cases per 100,000” statistic of 9.10- meaning we now meet this criteria. The change from 8 to 10 is why we went from Yellow back to Turquoise.
- A third category – vaccines- has been introduced as well. Basically, meeting the set percentage of being fully vaccinated will count as meeting one of the two other gating requirements. This percentage was 35% on April 28 but will go up to 40% by May 5 and 45% two weeks later. Eddy County, with a vaccine rate of 25.8%, does not meet this new criteria.
- There’s also a change allowing you to remain Turquoise for longer, once you reach that level. If we are Turquoise on May 5, for example, we will stay at that level for four weeks, not two.
New Mexico has also adopted the CDC’s guidelines in terms of masks wearing (they are no longer required) for those who are fully vaccinated and attending small outdoor gatherings.
The state plans to end the color system when 60 percent of the eligible population has been vaccinated.
Regarding vaccines- our policy will remain as it was – if you are interested in receiving a vaccine, we will help you do so. If you have questions about the vaccine process, we will be happy to help answer them. I have personally received my vaccine and suffered no ill effects, and I encourage anyone still on the fence about this issue to consider getting a vaccine. We are still offering vaccine clinics on Monday at the civic center.
We are working with other agencies to provide vaccine clinics during off-work hours to make things easier for those who haven’t been able to get vaccinated during the day. State statistics are based on age 16 and over, but Moderna and J&J vaccines are only offered for those 18 and over. We are pursuing local Pfizer options for those who would like to provide vaccines for 16 and 17 year olds.
Finally, we are trying to make certain that individuals who received vaccines out of state, for example, are included in our tally.
We’re certainly glad to be back in Turquoise. That means, among other things, that people can attend Friday night’s basketball game. The 7-3 Cavemen host Hobbs at 7 p.m. The Cavegirls play at Hobbs. Softball and baseball begin this weekend. It’s a great weekend for Riverblitz or for supporting local sports.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway