Mayor Keller hopeful Bernalillo will move out of Level Yellow after state adjusts reopening framework

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — While 14 counties across the state are currently in the Turquoise re-opening level, the state’s largest county, Bernalillo County, has been stuck in Level Yellow.

“When it comes to the positive cases per 100 thousand, we continue to see challenges,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

Mayor Keller gave an update on the latest COVID-19 numbers during a news conference at the Sunport Tuesday morning.

Bernalillo County’s numbers aren’t improving enough to move out of Level Yellow.

“This obviously begs the question of when are we ever going to get to Green, and I’ll tell you right now– that could be very difficult under the current criteria,” he said.

However, the current criteria will soon be changing.

During a virtual new conference last week, Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said the state is planning to revise the requirements for the Red to Turquoise re-opening system in two weeks.

“The idea that Bernalillo will never get out of the Yellow because of the way the system is set up is a way of focusing on things we have no control over,” he said. “The eight cases per 100 thousand is the same metric for every county, even the very smallest ones. The fact is there is just a lot more spread of coronavirus in Albuquerque."

Mayor Keller said the Red to Turquoise system has worked for the most part, but it needs to be reworked as more people get vaccinated.

“We are going to be ready as soon as that new criteria is announced,” said Keller. “Whether it’s small things like the zoo or whether it’s things like Civic Plaza or the convention center or tournaments. We will update as soon as we can all things Albuquerque up to that new criteria.”