All but two of New Mexico's 33 counties will remain in the highest level of public health restrictions for the next two weeks under the state's tiered and color-coded system to determine the level of risk of COVID-19.
Harding County, the state's least populous with an estimated 441 residents, has reached green status, and Union County, a thinly populated jurisdiction in the northeastern corner of the state, is in the yellow category, state officials announced Wednesday.
All other counties, including Catron, which had been in the yellow, are in the red category.
The state uses the per-capita daily incidence of new cases and average test positivity within a county in its determination. To earn the least restrictive green level, a county must have a testing positivity rate at or below 5 percent and an average daily count of fewer than eight new cases per 100,000 people. Harding County has zero cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of zero percent, according to the state Department of Health.
A county that meets one criterion may operate at the yellow level. Union County's positivity rate of 3.8 percent moved it into the yellow.
The state said many counties were trending in the wrong direction. Twenty counties showed a higher average daily per-capita rate of new cases, 17 had a higher test positivity rate and 16 showed a decline in both metrics. Still, a dozen counties have shown improvement in both metrics.