The state of New Mexico on Wednesday announced that it would begin rolling back travel quarantine restrictions for out-of-state visitors, owing to a cautiously brighter pandemic outlook after several months of unsustainable strain on the state’s health care system.
On Feb. 10, the Department of Health announced 15 counties had reached the Yellow Level under the state’s color-coding risk system, with four additional counties at the Green Level. All but four of the state’s counties saw a positivity rate below 10 percent in the most recent two-week period, signaling that with continued vigilance most every county in the state could soon reach less-restrictive levels.
Effective Thursday, Feb. 11, the state will no longer require self-quarantine for visitors or New Mexicans arriving into the state from “high-risk” states, or states with a 5 percent positivity rate or greater over a 7-day rolling average, or a positive test rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents.
Visitors from anywhere outside of the state will instead be strongly advised to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days and to seek out a COVID-19 test upon their arrival in or return to New Mexico.
Previously the state had required visitors or arrivals from “high-risk” states to physically separate from others in a residence or place of lodging for at least 14 days from the date of their entry into New Mexico or for the duration of their presence in the state, whichever is shorter. As of Feb. 9, only Hawaii was deemed a “low-risk” state, defined as a state with a 5 percent positivity rate or lower over a 7-day rolling average and a positive test rate lower than 80 per 1 million residents.
“New Mexicans have sacrificed to make this recent progress, and I encourage all New Mexicans and visitors to our state to maintain vigilance in the coming weeks,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Please consider continuing to limit travel to only what is necessary for your work and family. This is the best way to ensure our progress is sustained, and we can continue to save lives and protect New Mexicans’ health and livelihoods.”
The overall suppression of the virus across different regions of New Mexico, supplemented by the state’s aggressive testing efforts and expeditious distribution of vaccine, contributed to the best statewide showing under the color-coding system that has been in place since the late fall. Information about the state’s color-coding system is available here at cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen.