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This story is a staff report from The Paper.

NMDOH Red-to-Green Status, Jan. 27, 2021

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Almost one-quarter of New Mexico’s 33 counties have moved from red to yellow or green status under the state’s “Red-to-Green” protocols and Bernalillo County is really, really close.

According to bi-weekly data released today by the state’s department of health, the counties of Colfax, Grant, Los Alamos, San Miguel, Sierra, Socorro and Union met one of the health metric thresholds – a positivity rate below 5 percent in each county – and may operate at the Yellow Level beginning Jan. 27. Harding County, the state’s least-populated, entered the Green Level earlier this month.

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.

Bernalillo County saw a new daily per-capita case rate of 32.7 per 100,000, a decrease of 36.5 percent over two weeks, and a test positivity rate of 6.68 percent, a decrease of 37 percent over two weeks. The criteria for moving to the Yellow Level (and fewer restrictions) requires a test positivity rate under 5 percent or a per-capita case rate of 8 per 100,000.

Bernalillo County had also posted significant improvements in positivity rates in the two week period ending on January 12.

If the downward trend continues over the next two weeks, Bernalillo County would transition to Yellow Level on February 10.

Transitioning to Yellow would allow restaurants to allow indoor dining at 50% capacity (currently not allowed at all under the Red Level). Other capacity limits for places of worship, non-essential retail and similar operations would expand from 25% to 33%.

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.

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