Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham joined Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins and Health and Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase for a COVID-19 press update on April 28, 2021.
"I'm delighted to join the experts," Grisham said. "41.6% of New Mexicans are fully vaccinated. It will be a lifelong journey but we should always be winning against COVID-19."
Grisham is proud of the state for leading the country in vaccination.
"Given how many vaccinations are done each week, we believe 60% [of New Mexicans] can fully get vaccinated in short order. At that time New Mexico will graduate from the color coded system," she said.
The state is projected to reach 60% vaccination by the end of June. "[That means] in nine weeks we are open. This is cause for incredible celebration and I am extremely proud of the work we have done."
"I really want New Mexicans to be proud, and encouraged. But don't let your guard down. New Mexico is today the first state that will be able to be fully open in the safest possible way," Grisham said.
Scrase said April 28 was day 414 of the pandemic. "Our average daily case count has entered a new plateau. There were a couple earlier, and what's different now is having the vaccine." He said the plateau is likely a combination of the uptick among those that are out more and the effects of the vaccine.
Scrase also said this is the time to rethink the metrics of the gating criteria. "We're dropping PPE as a criteria. Another key change is raising the threshold of average daily cases to 210 or less. We're also relaxing and increasing the threshold of test positivity rate to 7.5%"
The gating criteria will be updated weekly now that the state has entered "maintenance" mode.
"Vaccination efforts have become so successful that they are an overwhelming driver in the metrics," he said. "The vaccine gives the county a boost if that metric is met."
"We believe these changes will do a number of things, including creating more stability and incentivizing people to be vaccinated."
"The new criteria are in effect as of April 30," Grisham said. "Vaccines are a game changer."
"57.5% of New Mexicans over 16 years of age have received their first shot, and 41.6% are fully vaccinated," Collins said.
She reminds New Mexicans that self-scheduling is available at vaccinenm.org, including booster shots.
"The vaccine is free and you do not need ID to receive services, and the Department of Health does not share immigration status with the federal government."
"All three vaccines are safe and effective. Take the first vaccine you are offered," Collins said. "More vaccines in arms means keeping more family members from being hospitalized or dying due to COVID-19."
"This really is a monumental achievement by all of us," Grisham said. "We certainly don't want this to be a message about letting your guard down. And we don't forget the losses. But our efforts have, in fact, paid off. We are making evidence-based decisions."
Grisham said she continues to be delighted with the work of all the partners that have helped the state reach this point.
Find the amended public health emergency order clarifying current orders below: