Albuquerque mom devastated after she’s unable to visit disabled son in state group home

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The coronavirus has forced people to keep their distance from others including from their own family in some cases. One Albuquerque mother is heartbroken after being told she can no longer visit her medically-fragile son.

Gerri Duran says her 100-year-old mother is devastated. “Her life is her boy,” Duran says. Because of the Coronavirus, Duran says her mom can’t see her son right now. “Is there no way? Even if we wore hazmat suits to go visit Mikey,” Duran says.

Mike Duran, 69, has down syndrome and dementia. “He’s a vital human being and everyone loves him,” Duran says. He’s lived in a state-run group home for people with disabilities for the past five years. “I had been driving over there and picking him up and bringing him to spend Sunday afternoons with all of us,” Duran says.

New COVID restrictions only allowed the family to see Mike at the group home. “They would take Mikey out of the house, take our temperature and we would just visit with him,” Duran says.

Last week, the family received this letter from the Department of Health stating they were no longer allowed to visit. And if he left the home, he would not be allowed back. “These edicts that come down without any room for individualization. I’m not blaming anyone I’m simply asking for some flexibility as we look at the plans that they have,” Duran says.

Duran says the rule is hard on Mike and her mother who both are reliant on physical face to face interaction. “We just need to maximize his quality of life and my mother’s quality of life as much as we can. We just have to get some kind of connection for my mother and Mikey,” Duran says.

Officials tell us there was some confusion about the no visitation order, and there were instances where families did visit despite the secretary’s directive.
Those getting services through the state-run Developmental Disabilities Support Division will remain under the stay-at-home order until further notice. The division’s re-opening committee is set to meet Friday.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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