NMDOH recommends immunocompromised people continue wearing masks

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Prior to the announcement lifting the mask mandate last week, state officials were actually stocking up on high-quality masks. So where is that supply?

"I think it’s a bit early from a public health standpoint to get rid of masks in schools. I know that we’re all eager to get rid of masks. Everybody is excited not to wear masks indoors. I totally understand that,” said Dr. Alex Cvijanovich, president of the New Mexico Pediatric Society. “But I think that we know that the pandemic is not over yet. The numbers are going down in terms of infection rates but the hospitals are still quite busy, our clinics are still busy with respiratory illness. We know that masks help reduce the infection rate of respiratory illnesses."

The New Mexico Department of Health still recommends a mask for people who are immunocompromised or have chronic illnesses.

“The stronger the mask, the better you’re protected, but more importantly, the better other people are protected from you as well,” said Dr. David Scrase, acting secretary for the state’s Department of Health.

Just weeks ago, state health leaders announced plans to stock up on a million KN95 masks and N95 masks to distribute around the state. The feds did the same, sending boxes to local pharmacies and grocery stores.

“The state, to fill this gap, has already ordered a million masks,” said Scrase.

It’s unclear where those masks are now – or perhaps the new plan to get them to New Mexicans who need them. KOB 4 is still waiting on information from the Department of Health on where those masks are, if they have some to distribute or if those were already distributed.

Both Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque said they did not receive any masks.

Meanwhile, officials with the Department of Health say they plan to update some of that mask guidance Wednesday.