Only 4 counties at highest-risk Red Level, down from 14 two weeks past
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health on Wednesday announced the updated statewide COVID-19 map for the two-week period beginning Feb. 24, with 19 New Mexico counties at the Yellow Level and six at the Green Level, at which there are fewer restrictions on commercial and day-to-day activities amid decreased virus risk.
Four counties reached the Turquoise Level, the newly designated least-restrictive level, and four counties were at the Red Level, signifying very high risk.
Every county in the state now reports a positivity rate below 10 percent, close to the threshold for moving to a less restrictive level.
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 one of the health metric thresholds and may operate at the Yellow Level beginning Feb. 24 are: Bernalillo, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Socorro and Valencia.
Counties that met both of the health metric thresholds and may operate at the Green Level beginning Feb. 24 are: De Baca, Los Alamos, Mora, Quay, Taos and Torrance.
Counties that met both of the health metric thresholds for two consecutive biweekly map updates and may operate at the Turquoise Level beginning Feb. 24 are: Catron, Harding, Sierra and Union.
Counties that met neither of the health metric thresholds and must operate at the Red Level are: Doña Ana, Eddy, McKinley and Otero.
Doña Ana had reached the Yellow Level with a positivity rate of 4.33 percent as of Feb. 10 but regressed, with a positivity rate of 6.77 percent as of Feb. 24; in accordance with the operative public health order, a county that moves to a more restrictive level must begin operating at the more restrictive level within 2 days.
The counties of Colfax (9.6), Curry (9.7), Hidalgo (8.4), Lea (9.6), Roosevelt (9) and Santa Fe (8.3) are each near the threshold for new per-capita cases of fewer than 8 per 100,000, which, when reached, in conjunction with keeping their positivity rates below 5 percent, will permit them to operate at the Green Level.
Thirty of 33 counties saw their new per-capita daily case rate improve over the two-week period, and all but six counties saw their positivity rates improve over the two-week period.
The color-coded tier system – Red Level, Yellow Level and Green 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 below and available at cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen.