Quay cases increase but county remains turquoise
April 14, 2021
Quay County remained in the coveted turquoise zone again after COVID-19 risk assessments were announced Wednesday afternoon by the state’s Department of Health.
The county saw a small increase in the per-capita number of coronavirus cases from March 23 to April 5 compared to the previous two-week period. Quay County’s daily cases per 100,000 people was 2.6, compared to the previous period’s 1.7. The benchmark is 8 daily cases per 100,000.
The county’s test-positivity rate also rose to 2.31%, compared to the previous two-week period’s 1.1%. It still was well under the benchmark of 5%.
Human Services Secretary Richard Scrase said during a briefing Wednesday a rise in test-positivity rates was happening statewide because fewer residents are being tested after being vaccinated.
In Quay County, fewer than 150 people were tested from March 23 to April 5. More than 300 were tested during the previous period.
Scrase previously said the state’s red-to-green evaluation system eventually would have to be recalibrated to adjust for declining test numbers.
The number of New Mexico counties in the turquoise zone rose Wednesday from 13 to 20. No counties in the state are in the red zone.
All counties surrounding Quay County were in the green or turquoise zone except Guadalupe, after a recent outbreak there.
The next assessment will be announced April 21.
Barring surges in COVID-19 variants in New Mexico, Scrase said he anticipated the red-to-green evaluations would stop once enough vaccinations occur to give the state herd immunity. He anticipated that might happen by late May or early June.
Here are the health restrictions for counties in the turquoise zone, including Quay:
• Essential businesses (non-retail): No capacity restrictions but operations must be limited to only those absolutely necessary to carry out essential functions;
• Essential retail spaces: 75% of maximum capacity (indoor and outdoor);
• Food and drink establishments (if NM Safe Certified): 75% of maximum capacity for indoor dining; 75% of maximum capacity for outdoor dining;
• Close-contact businesses: 75% of maximum capacity; no restrictions on outdoor spaces;
• Large entertainment venues: 33% of maximum capacity for any indoor/enclosed space on premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises;
• Recreational facilities: 50% of maximum capacity of any indoor/enclosed space on the premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises;
• Bars and clubs: 33% of maximum capacity of any indoor/enclosed space on premises; 75% of any outdoor space on premises, where applicable;
• All other businesses: 75% of maximum capacity indoors; no restrictions on outdoor spaces;
• Churches: May hold religious services, indoors or outdoors, or provide services through audiovisual means, but may not exceed 75% of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises;
• Places of lodging: No maximum occupancy restrictions for those that have completed NM Safe Certified training; 50% of maximum occupancy for all others; 15 guests maximum for vacation rentals;
• Mass gatherings limit: 150 persons, or 200 vehicles.