Announcement comes as record number of deaths recorded statewide
The state of New Mexico announced Wednesday details of its new county-by-county “Red to Green” COVID-19 risk system that it said will allow communities to shed burdensome restrictions when data shows lower spread of the novel coronavirus.
Also on Wednesday, the state announced a record-high 35 deaths related to COVID-19, including three from Chaves County.
The three local deaths were a man in his 70s who had been hospitalized and two men in their 80s, according to the press release. The older men were residents of Casa Maria Health Care Center and each had underlying health conditions.
Their deaths bring the county’s total to 38. The state has now had 1,504 deaths related to the virus.
Of the other deaths, five were from Taos County; four each were from Bernalillo, San Juan and Santa Fe counties; three each from Cibola, Curry and Sierra counties; and one each from Doña Ana, Lea, Lincoln, Otero, Quay and Valencia counties.
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Chaves County reported 86 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday among the state’s 2,076.
Thirty counties and one correctional facility reported new cases.
As of Friday, 874 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state.
The state’s total number of COVID-19 cases since March is 91,852 including 4,368 in Chaves County.
The new “Red to Green” risk system will take effect Dec. 2. Until that time, the state will continue to operate under the “reset” of tighter restrictions announced Nov. 18 that includes stay-at-home instructions and restricts operations of essential businesses and services.
The system will use the same criteria of per-capita incidence of new cases of COVID-19 and test positivity rates over a two-week period, along with the red, yellow and green designations already in use.
Under each level, almost all businesses and services will be allowed to operate at limited capacity, with decreasing restrictions as a county moves from red to yellow to green.
At the red level — which every county except for Los Alamos County is at — essential retail businesses can operate at 25% of maximum capacity or 75 customers at one time, whichever is smaller.
Food and drink establishments are not allowed indoor dining but can have outdoor dining at 25% of maximum capacity or 75 customers. Indoor dining is allowed at the yellow and green levels.
Close-contact businesses such as barbershops, hair salons, gyms, tattoo parlors, massage therapy services, and recreational facilities such as bowling alleys and skating rinks can operate at 25% of maximum capacity or 10 customers, whichever is smaller.
Outdoor recreational facilities such as golf courses, swimming pools, livestock shows, youth programs and zoos can operate at 25% maximum capacity unless otherwise required to have less capacity under the state’s COVID-safe practices.
Places of lodging can operate at 40% of maximum occupancy if they have completed the state’s safe certified training, otherwise they are limited to 25%. Vacation rentals are limited to five guests maximum.
Mass gatherings are limited to five people or 10 vehicles. At the yellow level, that increases to 10 people or 25 vehicles, and at the green level to 20 people or 100 vehicles.
Close-contact recreational facilities, which includes movie theaters, museums with interactive displays, concert venues, professional sports venues, bars and auto racetracks will remain closed at all levels.
Non-retail essential businesses, which include health care operations, homeless shelters and food banks, childcare, farms and other food cultivation or processing, infrastructure operations, manufacturing, safety and sanitation, mailing and shipping facilities, banks, media and others, have no capacity restrictions at any level but must limit operations to those necessary to carry out essential functions.
All other businesses can operate at 25% of maximum capacity or 75 customers. Houses of worship can operate at 25% maximum capacity.
More information about the new system can be found at cv.nmhealth.org.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or email@example.com.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.