The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

State health officials relax mask mandate

 

Last updated 5/15/2021 at 4:55pm



SANTA FE — The New Mexico Department of Health announced on Friday, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance, that vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks in indoor or outdoor settings.

Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated are still required under public health orders to wear masks in public settings. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after either their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna or their lone dose of Johnson & Johnson.

It wasn't immediately clear how, or if, state officials might try to confirm who's been vaccinated.

“Getting vaccinated is the ticket to a safe and healthy COVID-free future,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a release. “We are close and getting closer. But that all depends on New Mexicans continuing to protect themselves and their community by getting vaccinated – please find vaccines near you at vaccineNM.org and get your shot.”

New Mexicans are encouraged to continue adhering to COVID-safe practices, the release stated. All individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated, should continue to wear well-fitted masks where required by localities, tribal entities, and individual businesses.

The state fully supports businesses and workplaces that may continue to require masks for employees and/or customers on the premises, regardless of vaccination status.

CDC guidance still requires masks for all individuals at healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and public transportation.

As the majority of students remain unvaccinated, the CDC’s guidance for school settings remains unchanged. Pending additional guidance from the CDC, masks continue to be required in schools for all students and school staff regardless of vaccination status.

Mass gathering limits and the statewide framework remain in place. As previously announced by the governor and state officials, New Mexico will graduate from the color-coded county risk system and remove most pandemic-related restrictions on commercial activities when 60% of eligible New Mexicans have been fully vaccinated. As of Thursday, 51% of eligible New Mexicans have been fully vaccinated.

All New Mexicans age 16+ are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and may schedule their vaccine appointment at vaccineNM.org or by calling 1-855-600-3453. Parents of New Mexicans age 12-15 may register their child for the approved Pfizer vaccine at vaccineNM.org.

In other COVID-related developments:

• The state confirmed 223 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death Friday, bringing the those totals to 200,650 cases and 4,113 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The Friday report included eight cases in Curry County and two cases in Roosevelt County.

• Clovis Municipal Schools announced Friday Yucca Middle School would return to in-person learning on May 25 for end-of-year assessments.

The district entered a mandatory two-week remote learning period May 5 after its third rapid response in a 14-day period.

On Tuesday, however, the Public Education Department announced the school had received its fourth rapid response in the 14-day period, and was subject to a mandatory 14-day remote learning period.

• The DOH announced that businesses, nonprofits, religious congregations, community centers, and other organizations can now request on-site vaccination events through a new DOH webform at getvaxnm.com.

“DOH is committed to making vaccine available to New Mexicans where they live and work,” said Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins. “By offering organizations the opportunity to request on-site vaccination events, we’ll make getting a shot even easier.”

Organizations that can bring a minimum of 25 people to a vaccination event — through a combination of employees/members, family, or members of the surrounding community — will qualify, and DOH will work with the organization on scheduling. The department reserves the right to combine multiple requests into a single event or redirect applying organizations to pre-existing events.

• The New Mexico Human Services Department reminded New Mexicans on Friday of the Federal Communications Commission’s temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit program.

The $3.2 billion program provides discounts of up to $50 per month for eligible households to defray the costs of broadband internet service, and a one-time $100 discount toward purchase of a computer, laptop or tablet.

For eligibility information and applications, visit http://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit or call 833-511-0311.

 
 

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