New Mexico is now meeting all of its “gating criteria,” Human Services Secretary David Scrase said in an online briefing Thursday.
This list of criteria includes a daily count of 168 or fewer cases for New Mexico a day. According to Scrase’s data, the daily count as of Aug. 14 was 132. He did say that the criteria numbers used the specimen collection data, not the daily number of confirmed cases, making the data slightly different than what people have totaled themselves based on daily updates. Other gating criteria includes the availability of testing and health care facilities.
New Mexico’s current health order is set to expire next week, on Aug. 28. The current health order prohibits indoor dining, limits the capacity of other businesses and bans gatherings of more than five people. The question most New Mexicans are asking is whether the fact the state has now met declared gating criteria means the upcoming health order will be less prohibitive and allow, for example, indoor seating at restaurants.
In Thursday’s conference, Scrase and Chad Smelser, acting state epidemiologist, were not willing to say what the positive news about the gating criteria meant in terms of re-opening. They did say that the case count in Southeastern New Mexico was “maintaining a plateau” rather than falling, and attributed that fact to the area’s proximity to Texas. We will almost certainly receive an official state update at some point next week.
We will continue to advocate for a reopening strategy that protects safety but is also considerate of the hundreds of businesses in our area who are at severe risk of having to close for good. We will also continue to look for alternate solutions and ways to support our area’s businesses.
From the office of Mayor Dale Janway