Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and top state health officials heard optimistic news regarding the state’s response to COVID-19 and the distribution of the vaccine during a remote press conference on Thursday.
The press conference came just a day after the state eased restrictions for counties at yellow and green levels, and added another level, turquoise, which would allow even less restrictive COVID rules.
“We are on the road to recovery,” Lujan Grisham said at a news conference on Thursday. “And this is exactly where we deserve to be, due to our hard work.”
The state also recently celebrated the administration of 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and remains one of the country’s top performing states in terms of administering COVID-19.
The average number of daily cases continues to drop, although a health official has warned that the reopening may reduce the reduction.
Still, Lujan Grisham warned that “it doesn’t mean the virus is gone and it doesn’t mean the risk is gone” and said that new Mexicans must still follow COVID’s safe practices, such as wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding meetings outside your home.
Dr. Tracie Collins, secretary of the Department of Health, said New Mexico is the third fastest country to administer vaccines per capita in any state in the country.
The state expects a 7% increase to 77,720 doses next week, which Collins called “really phenomenal”.
Those who are enrolled in vaccinenm.org will be contacted when they are eligible for a vaccine and when a vaccine is available.
Collins said DOH will send a greater focus on providing vaccines to the elderly and said the department would increase vaccinations for the elderly by 10 percent over the next two weeks. In addition, the elderly would have extra time to respond and schedule an appointment.
A phone number, 1-855-600-3453, is available for seniors who need technical support.
Already, 100 percent of nursing and assisted living facilities had at least one vaccination clinic, and 90 percent of nursing facilities and 75 percent of assisted living facilities had a second vaccination clinic.
She also said that the state would distribute vaccines based on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index and positive COVID rates in communities to better protect those who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 and have severe symptoms.
The state that is expanding its COVID-19 vaccination efforts to essential frontline workers, such as educators, grocery workers and public transport workers, would probably wait until “until spring,” said Collins, although she did not have one. specific answer because the state does not know how many doses it will receive from the federal government.
The state is currently vaccinating those aged 75 and over and those aged 16 and over with a condition that makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19, along with hospital staff, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, medical first responders and other professionals of health.
However, there are gaps in the knowledge of how many residents in the state received the vaccines.
NM Political Report asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week if they had information on how many were administered by federal entities, but was told by a spokesman “We don’t have an analysis for this – only for federal entities across the country” .
Federal breakdown is available at CDC COVID Data Tracker website.
The state also does not have access to this information.
Although the state can track vaccines administered to providers with which it has a partnership, they do not receive data from the federal government on vaccines administered in New Mexico by agencies such as Indian Health Services, Bureau of Prisons or Veterans Health Administration.
“I’m not getting what I need from any of these entities directly,” said Lujan Grisham.
The governor said she pressured the Joe Biden government, as did the Donald Trump administration, to gain access to the data.
Another positive sign, and a source of more unknown data, concerns the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the vaccine for which the Federal Drug Administration should grant an authorization for emergency use in the coming days.
“We are predicting that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be approved soon,” said Collins.
It is not clear how many doses of the new vaccine New Mexico will receive; the federal government distributes the vaccines to the states, which are responsible for organizing the vaccines.
Vaccinations are having a major impact on dropping cases, according to modeling.
Department of Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said vaccinations are already reducing the daily incidence of COVID-19 by 25% to 30%, according to modeling by the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
This is still not the most important factor for the state, which are currently quarantine efforts.
“I think that sometime in the coming months, that will change and the vaccine will be number one,” said Scrase.
Among the blocking criteria, the state is “to hit all cylinders”, with only the count of daily cases exceeding the state goal. The state expects to drop the figure to 168 a day or less on a seven-day moving average. It was 262 on February 19, the last date for which the state has complete data.
He warned that while the state is on track to get there in the coming weeks, the reopening may slow down.
On Thursday, the state reported 299 new cases of COVID-19 and thirteen additional deaths. The number is raw data and is not the same as used for state lock criteria or red to green calculations.
The number of people admitted by COVID-19 on Thursday was 245.
And, like Lujan Grisham, he urged the new Mexicans not to let their guard down.
“This reopening is not something like a prize we won and now we can go back to normal,” said Scrase. “The reopening is something we can do if we continue with the COVID security practices listed here.”