DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEWS RELEASE
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) continues to urge people to seek vaccines and boosters as the two-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 cases reported in New Mexico is observed this week. Two years into the global pandemic that has taken the lives of millions, more than 7,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in New Mexico, and the number continues to climb.
In observance of the solemn anniversary, NMDOH wishes to pay homage to all those whose lives were cut short or devastated by the virus, as well as those who sacrificed so much during the pandemic. Each of the 7,050 lives lost were unique and irreplaceable to their loved ones, and the void left behind can never be filled. Many more New Mexicans stepped up, sacrificed, and looked out for one another as we weathered this storm together.
“As we mark this grim anniversary, we remember that those taken from us by this terrible virus are not just numbers – they are our family members, our friends, our coworkers and our neighbors, real people who have left behind empty seats at the table that will never be filled,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “I join all New Mexicans in grieving for and honoring each of those lost lives. And to New Mexico’s health care heroes, essential workers, educators, and all other New Mexicans who stepped up in the face of the greatest challenge we’ve ever seen: thank you. Your tireless efforts made a world of difference for countless New Mexicans, and we are eternally grateful.”
“Two years ago, we announced our first cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico,” said Acting NMDOH Cabinet Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D. “We have learned a great deal since then and continue to evolve as new variants emerge. I’m so proud to be part of the exceptional team that lead the nation in so many areas: data reporting, vaccination rates, home testing…all achieved with fewer resources than most, and often while operating in Crisis Standards of Care. We have a lot to be proud of in New Mexico. As our recommendations and protocols evolve, our goal remains the same – to protect the health and safety of all New Mexicans as we explore how we will coexist with COVID-19 and prepare for future variants.”
New Mexico COVID Timeline:
- March 11, 2020: Four confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in New Mexico. The number of positive infections in New Mexico has exceeded 500,000 cases to date.
- March 12, 2020: New Mexico closes K-12 public schools to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
- March 13, 2020: Insurance superintendent guarantees free COVID-19 testing and treatment for New Mexicans.
- March 14, 2020: Nursing homes should limit most visitors to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
- March 25, 2020: NMDOH announces the first COVID-19 death in New Mexico.
- December 9, 2020: New Mexico activates Crisis Standards of Care.
- December 14, 202o: The first vaccine is administered in the state of New Mexico, which becomes a national leader in vaccination. To date, more than 3,727,493 vaccines have been administered to New Mexicans!
- Spring 2021: Vaccine equity across New Mexico is prioritized with a view toward eliminating barriers: free of charge, no need for identification, insurance coverage, nor doctor’s visit required.
- June 29, 2021, New Mexico reaches 70 percent vaccination rate.
- September 29, 2021: New Mexico introduces booster vaccine eligibility website.
- October 25, 2021: Crisis Standards of Care declared again and continues thru March 11, 2022, almost five months.
- December 22,2021: New Mexico launches free at-home COVID-19 tests. To date, NMDOH has facilitated access to more than 4 million free at-home tests for New Mexicans, including distribution of over 2 million to New Mexico communities.
- December 13, 2021: New Mexico identifies first Omicron COVID-19 case.
- December 30, 2021: Oral therapeutics arrive in New Mexico to treat COVID-19
- January 2022: NMDOH procures and distributes more than 1 million high quality N95 and KN95 masks for free to New Mexicans.
- January 17, 2022: New Mexico introduces free at-home rapid testing program.
- February 17, 2022: Indoor mask mandate is lifted.
- February 17, 2022: NMDOH continues to recommend the utilization of tools for immunocompromised populations and those who live with or care for them: mask wearing, keeping at-home tests on hand for early diagnosis and seeking at-home oral treatments. Everyone is encouraged to practice vigilance and perform regular personal risk assessments to protect themselves and their loved ones from severe outcomes associated with COVID-19.
Vaccination and staying up to date on boosters are the key to coexisting in the safest way as we move forward. To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, go to: vaccinenm.org.