SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health on Friday renewed public health orders related to COVID-19, including the requirement to wear masks in public.
While data shows that Omicron case counts are trending lower, the number still hovers around 3,000 per day, requiring the extension of the mask mandate for the time being, the health department said in a statement.
“The highly infectious nature of the omicron variant requires continued vigilance until the number of New Mexico hospitalizations decrease,” the statement said.
Vaccination, masking, social distancing, and isolating continue to be valuable tools to help fight the spread of highly transmissible COVID-19 variants.
The critical piece of knowing when to isolate is now easier, because of a significant increase in the number of free at-home COVID-19 tests available. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham directed the Department of Health to help procure access for New Mexicans to more than four million free at-home COVID-19 tests, the health department said.
Multiple options to mail order or pick up free at-home COVID-19 tests can be accessed through FindaTestNM.org.
Most of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths occur among the small number of unvaccinated New Mexicans, the health department said and health officials encourage everyone 5 years and older to stay up to date on their free vaccines and boosters. Being unvaccinated has been shown to increase the risk of death from COVID to over 90 times the risk if one is up to date with vaccination, which includes the primary series plus a booster.