Officials say Bernalillo County has long way to go before COVID restrictions loosen | KOB 4

Officials say Bernalillo County has long way to go before COVID restrictions loosen

Patrick Hayes
Created: November 30, 2020 06:17 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Starting Wednesday, the state will move to a new three-tiered county-by-county reopening system. Currently, every county except Los Alamos is in the red tier. 

Officials from New Mexico’s most populous county said there’s a lot of work left to be done before COVID restrictions can relax. 

“Earlier in the year, we feel like Bernalillo County was doing a really good job, the metro area was doing a really good job, especially for the population density here, so I think it’s a really great challenge for us to prove that we can get back to where we need to be again. We got a lot of work to do to get there,” said Mark DiMenna, deputy director for the Albuquerque Environmental Department. 

Going from the red to the yellow tier could take months. Bernalillo County would need to average 54 cases a day for two weeks to move up a tier. On Monday, Bernalillo County had 596 cases. 

“Realistically, for Bernalillo County, we are so far beyond what the gating criteria that we’re going to be expected to meet—I wouldn’t call it excitement or anticipation. We’re a long ways away from being able to move to a less restrictive category here,” DiMenna said.

The city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are emphasizing that spreading the disease is largely an individual choice. Their plan to help reduce the spread includes continued efforts to enforce the public health order. Officials will also continue emphasizing the need to wear a mask and practice social distancing.  

The county’s director of emergency management, Richard Clark, said they’ve shut down some services doing the two-week reset. They’ve also promoted more free COVID testing. 

Bottom line—officials said there’s not much more they can do, and that it’s up to residents to listen. 

“Stay the course. Don’t let down your guard,” Clark said. “I know everyone is getting tired. We’re getting tired. We’ve been working since March in the emergency operations center, and so we’re getting tired but don’t relax. The vaccine is right there, the light is at the end of the tunnel. We can see it."

“Until the community gets to these points where we’re meeting the thresholds that are being set by the state, nothing is going to change for us and there’s going to continue to be risk there, so we really need people to do what we’re asking them to do,” DiMenna added.

City officials will reveal more details about their plan later this week.

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