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With Valencia County’s two-week average positivity rate dropping below 5 percent, it has moved it into the yellow category of the states red-yellow-green COVID-19 system.

From Jan. 26 through Feb. 8, the county had an average positivity rate of 4.26 percent and 19 new cases per 100,000.

In the two weeks prior, Valencia County was at a nearly 6.5 percent positivity rate.

Yellow counties must have either no more than eight new cases per capita or a two-week average of 5 percent positivity.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 9, there have been 5,943 COVID-19 cases reported in the county and 86 deaths. Of those who tested positive, 3,882 have been reported as recovered.

More information about COVID-19 in the county can be found at cvprovider.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html.

By moving from red to yellow, restrictions on essential retail stores, restaurants, mass gatherings and close contact businesses, like gyms and salons, will ease and allow for more occupancy.

Restaurants can open for indoor dining at 25 percent occupancy and increase outdoor seating to 75 percent; alcohol can be served until 10 p.m.

Essential retail locations are allowed 25 percent or 125 customers, whichever is less. Mass gatherings increase to 10 people or 25 vehicles, and close contact businesses can have 25 percent of their maximum occupancy or 20 customers, whichever is less.

Other counties that have moved to the yellow category are Bernalillo, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, Dona Ana, Grant, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Mora, Quay, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos counties.

Socorro County, just to the south of Valencia County, slid back to the red category, with a positivity rate of 6.26 percent for the two week period ending yesterday, and 25.30 new cases per capita. The county had moved to the yellow after the prior two week update.

Socorro County is the only county to regress to a more restrictive level during the two-week period that began Jan. 27. Businesses and other activities there have to begin operating at the more restrictive red level within two days.

Catron, Harding, Sierra and Union counties are in the green level starting today, Feb. 10.

According to a press release put out by the New Mexico Department of Health today, 29 counties reported a positivity rate less than 10 percent, an increase from 11 counties a month ago.

Information about the state’s color-coding system is available at cv.nmhealth.org/redtogreen.

The governor’s office also announced changes to the mandatory self-quarantine requirements for visitors into the state today.

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.

Vaccination updates, numbers

Earlier this week, the DOH announced an adjustment in the way COVID-19 vaccination data is reported.

While all vaccinations in the state are reported to the New Mexico State Immunization Information System, that system is supported by a third-party technology vendor. On Friday, Feb. 5, DOH staff realized the computer code used to generate vaccination reports pulls data based on the county in which vaccinations take place, not New Mexicans’ county of residence, according to a press release sent out Monday, Feb. 8.

The method has been adjusted, and vaccination numbers on the DOH’s portal will display totals based on county of residence.

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For several days, the website show there were 5,820 people fully or partially vaccinated in Valencia County. As of Wednesday, Feb. 10, the map is showing 9,557 people fully or partially vaccinated.

The site reports there have been 12.6 doses administered per 100 residents, putting the county 28th out of the state’s 33 counties. In terms of numbers of vaccines given, the county is ranked 8th of 33.

The DOH vaccine portal can be found at this link: cvvaccine.nmhealth.org/public-dashboard.html.

In the first weeks of the vaccination campaign, the state allocated vaccines to locations across New Mexico based on population, number of health care providers, and number of high-contact providers more specifically, according to Monday’s press release.

Since that time, DOH has been forced to adjust distributions based on provider capacity, efficiency and local interest in getting vaccinated.

The state is exploring ways to increase allocations for counties with low vaccination rates — including supporting new providers as they join the distribution system. If providers are ready and able to accept more doses — and administer these doses — DOH is ready to support them and will try to increase their supply, provided shipments from the federal government continue to increase.

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