The extension of the statewide requirement that face masks be worn in all indoor public spaces has been extended through November 12. The governor may decide to extend or lift the mask requirement, as necessary, depending on the analysis of the state Medical Advisory Team and state health officials. The mandate is in effect regardless of vaccination status and with limited exceptions.

The latest data released by the Center for Disease Control showed that Socorro County’s COVID-19 positivity rate for the seven days ending October 25 was 12.46 percent.

That is the percentage of tests that were positive. The number of tests was 488.

The number of new cases in the previous seven days was 25.

The other metric – new cases per 100,000 – was 31.2. Based on the old color-coded system, this would keep Socorro County in the red category.

According to the CDC website, 9,045 persons are fully vaccinated, which is 54.4 percent of the county’s total population.

Statewide, 72.2 percent of New Mexicans 18-and-over are fully vaccinated, and 64.4 percent in the 12-17 age group have received one dose. In that age group, 54.1 percent are fully vaccinated. Eight percent of New Mexicans 18-and-over have received a booster shot.

New Mexico state health officials announced on Monday that 5,002 New Mexicans had died due to COVID-19.

“These aren’t just numbers – they are our family members, friends, and neighbors, and we grieve for them and their families,” New Mexico Department of Health Acting Secretary Dr. David Scrase said. “If every eligible New Mexican got vaccinated, we could put an end to this pandemic.”

At New Mexico Tech the vaccination policy has been updated.

In an email sent campus-wide, President Stephen Wells complimented the Tech community on its compliance with testing and vaccinations. “We have seen a tremendous response, and our campus and community is safer as a result,” he stated.

He said that although over 84 percent of tech’s employees and 86 percent of registered students are fully vaccinated, that as a result of President Joe Biden’s recent executive order, all students, staff and faculty working on a federal contract are required to be fully vaccinated as of December 8.

“To be clear,” Wells said. “This requirement does not currently apply to the entirety of New Mexico Tech’s faculty, staff, and students; rather, it applies specifically to those who are directly compensated through federal contracts.”

Elsewhere across the state, according to the New Mexico Department of Health, staffed hospital beds remain in dangerously short supply, as primarily unvaccinated individuals continue to spread a more infectious variant of the virus. In light of this, the DOH has enacted Crisis Standards of Care for the state’s health care system.

Crisis Standards of Care allows hospitals to use a standardized procedure allowing medical staff to pick and choose who needs care, based in part on available resources and a patient’s likely level of survivability among other measures.

“The state is not closing down medically necessary procedures,” Scrase said. “But we’re saying to hospitals if you get to the point where true care rationing is happening, then you have to suspend those,” Scrase said at a briefing last week. “Many of us just assume that if we develop a serious illness, there will be an ICU bed available for us. That has not been the case for every New Mexican over the past six weeks.”

He also emphasized that while Crisis Standard of Care modifies hospital and health care facility procedures, patients should still seek the care they need.

“If you’re sick or think you might be, please, call your doctor,” he said.

Scrase cautioned about abandoning basic precautions.

“Tight-fitting masks make a difference. Wearing one protects you and your family,” Scrase said. “Our hospital and health care partners remain incredibly, incredibly concerned about the serious illnesses they are dealing with, and the pressure placed upon their institutions and personnel by these continuing infections.”

Last week the CDC announced the approval of booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for certain populations. Pfizer boosters have been available since late September. The CDC also approved “mixing and matching” for all three COVID-19 vaccines.

For New Mexicans who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after completion of their initial series:

  • 65 years and older
  • 18+ who live in long-term care settings.
  • 18+ who have underlying medical conditions.
  • 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings.

For New Mexicans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

“Many New Mexicans will benefit from additional protection, and DOH will work hand-in-hand with our healthcare partners to ensure that boosters are available,” Scrase said. “That said, the most urgent task remains to vaccinate New Mexicans who have not yet received their primary doses – and we encourage them to do so.”

Available data show that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the current Delta variant.

New Mexico Tech conducts on-campus COVID-19 testing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the fall semester at the Fidel Student Center.

Testing also continues at the Public Health Department, 214 Neel Ave., on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-11:30 a.m.

The Health Department is also administering the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and J&J vaccines on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m.

The Magdalena Clinic offers COVID vaccines every Thursday at 11 a.m. for a first, second or third dose for anyone who is immunocompromised. The Magdalena clinic doesn’t offer Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which must be stored at ultra-cold freezer temperatures. The clinic in Magdalena doesn’t have an ultra-cold freezer.

To make an appointment for a vaccine create a profile by filling out an online registration form at