N.M. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham administration issued a public health order extending the statewide requirement that face masks be worn in all indoor public spaces, with only limited exceptions and regardless of vaccination status.
The extension of the mask wearing order will be effective through Dec. 10.
Staffed hospital beds remain in dangerously short supply, as primarily unvaccinated individuals continue to spread a more infectious variant of the virus, and several New Mexico hospitals have implemented crisis standards of care, according to the state.
Health officials, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to recommend tight-fitting face masks be worn in indoor spaces as they are effective in limiting the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.
The state reported 21 new COVID-19 fatalities over the two-day period of Thursday, Nov. 11 and Friday, Nov. 12. During the same two-day period, the state reported 3,524 new cases, a daily average of 1,762 cases. To date, more than 5,100 New Mexicans have been killed by the virus.
The governor, acting upon the counsel and analysis of the state Medical Advisory Team and state health officials, may decide to extend or lift the mask requirement as necessary.
A separate public health order – requiring health care workers to be vaccinated and implementing vaccinate-or-test protocols for school workers – remains in place.
Lujan Grisham also on Friday signed an executive order expanding eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to all New Mexico adults as part of the state’s strategy to address rising case numbers and hospitalizations, a trend being seen nationwide.
“As we have throughout this unpredictable and unprecedented global pandemic, we always stand ready to quickly implement new tools and policies in our fight against this terrible disease,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “I strongly encourage every New Mexican to register for a booster today – we have appointments available and are ready to get shots in arms.”
The Centers for Disease Control’s eligibility criteria for boosters include adults 18+ who live or work in a high-risk setting. New Mexico joins other states – including California and Colorado – that have made boosters available to all adults 18+. New Mexicans aged 18 and over may now schedule a booster shot if:
- They received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago OR
- They completed the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series more than six months ago
While the vaccines remain highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, new data suggests that immunity protection can wane over time – leading to more vaccine breakthrough cases. As immunity protection wanes, the immunized become more susceptible to infection – though their infections are typically much milder than those among unvaccinated individuals.
Health officials also strongly recommend that children 5-17 receive vaccinations. New Mexicans can sign up for initial vaccinations and booster shots at VaccineNM.org. Instructions for scheduling children’s vaccinations are also available here.