The extension of the statewide requirement that face masks be worn in all indoor public spaces, was scheduled to end on Friday, Oct. 15. However, that mandate may be extended.

At a briefing last week, Acting Secretary of the Department of Health Dr. David Scrase said he did not foresee the state adding additional mandates beyond those already in place, such as the wearing of masks indoors, but that some of the COVID-19 limitations people have reluctantly accepted as part of daily life could last years.

“We need to think of longer-term solutions to manage this pandemic,” he said. “Things we can live with for one or two or three years rather than clicking on and off mandates.

He said the wearing of masks indoors for another year or two, for example, could be one of those preventive measures we must tolerate.

Health officials, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to recommend face masks be worn in indoor spaces as they are effective in limiting the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.

“This is going to stretch out much further in front of us than we thought,” Scrase said, adding that, “our hospital personnel are incredibly exhausted, discouraged and frustrated, frankly, that they are now managing a pandemic and working extra shifts and endangering their own health for what has become a preventable illness.”

The latest data released by DOH showed that Socorro County’s COVID-19 positivity rate for the 14-day period ending Monday, Oct. 11 was 5.12 percent.

That is the percentage of tests that were positive.

The other metric – new cases per 100,000 – was 24.90 over the two-week period of Sept. 28-Oct. 11. Based on the old color-coded system, this would keep Socorro County in the red category.

According to the CDC website, 8,906 persons are fully vaccinated, which is 53.5 percent of the county’s total population.

Statewide, 71.1 percent of New Mexicans 18-and-over are fully vaccinated, and 55.3 percent in the 12-17 age group are fully vaccinated.

All New Mexicans age 12 and over may get vaccinated.

The Moderna booster is scheduled to be available today, Oct. 14, and the J and J booster tomorrow, Oct. 15.

Emergency Use Authorization vaccines will be available for 5-11 year-olds on Oct. 26, according to DOH.

The Pfizer booster dose has been available since Sept. 22.

CDC recommends that the following groups should receive a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after completing their second dose:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • Residents aged 18 years and older in long-term care settings
  • People aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions

Individuals who MAY get the booster six months after their second dose:

  • People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions
  • People aged 18-64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of an occupational or institutional setting

In the meantime, DOH announced that free COVID-19 printed materials are available to New Mexico businesses, organizations, community members and schools. Individuals can choose between three different sized kits which include banners, posters, flyers and postcards.