State to extend indoor mask requirement
SANTA FE – The statewide requirement that face masks be worn in all indoor public spaces, with only limited exceptions and regardless of vaccination status, will be extended, the Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday.
The state Department of Health re-implemented the mask requirement in August in an effort to stem the state’s rising tide of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
Staffed hospital beds remain in dangerously short supply, as primarily unvaccinated individuals continue to spread a more infectious variant of the virus, and New Mexico hospitals are on the brink of implementing crisis standards of care.
“Many of us just assume that if we develop a serious illness, there will be an ICU bed available for us,” said Dr. Scrase. “That has not been the case for every New Mexican over the past six weeks. It is not time to abandon basic precautions. 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.
“Tight-fitting masks make a difference. Wearing one protects you and your family.”
Health officials, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to recommend tight-fitting face masks be worn in indoor spaces as they are effective in limiting the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.
The state reported 20 new COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday, Oct. 14. There were 879 total new cases reported on October 14, and to date, more than 4,900 New Mexicans have been killed by the virus.
The extended mask requirement is now effective through at least November 12. The governor, acting upon the counsel and analysis of the state Medical Advisory Team and state health officials, may decide to extend or lift the mask requirement as necessary.
The separate public health order requiring health care workers to be vaccinated and vaccinate-or-test requirements for school workers remains in place.
The operative emergency public health order, issued by Acting Health Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D., can be found here.
Vaccination continues to be the most effective tool against COVID-19. Get vaccinated to protect yourself, your family, and your coworkers. Visit VaccineNM.org to find locations and to sign up for an appointment today.
New Mexicans can learn more about whether they are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot at vaccinenm.org/boosters. Eligible New Mexicans may also schedule their booster shots at that site.
The Department of Health also advises all New Mexicans aged 6 months and older to get a flu shot; many providers of the COVID-19 vaccine also provide a flu shot. The department recommends getting the shot by the end of October for best protection.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT CV.NMHEALTH.ORG.