NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department has announced changes in visitation for the state’s long-term care facilities that are now in effect. The department along with the New Mexico Department of Health reports that set target goals include vaccination rates of 80% for staff and 90% for residents in long-term care facilities.
According to a press release from the department, all residents who are fully vaccinated can have in-room visits with fully vaccinated visitors without supervision, personal protective equipment, or social distancing. Additionally, fully vaccinated staff can gather with other staff members without having to wear PPE.
Residents who aren’t fully vaccinated must be able to social distance and wear PPE during in-room visits. If there is an outbreak in the facility, the department states that visitation must stop and outbreak procedures must be followed before visitation resumes.
Regardless of vaccination status, outdoor visitation continues to be the preferred and safest option for residents and staff.
ALTSD reports that residents who are fully vaccinated can participate in activities with other fully vaccinated participants and don’t need to wear a mask or avoid close contact during the activity. However, the department explains that if an unvaccinated resident is present, everyone must wear their mask or avoid close contact during the activity and the unvaccinated resident should social distance.
During communal dining, fully vaccinated residents don’t need to have a mask or social distance as long as everyone is vaccinated. The press release states that if unvaccinated residents are dining in a communal area, all residents should wear a facemask when they are not eating and unvaccinated residents should social distance.
The same practices are to be followed if there is a group activity and the driver and residents are all vaccinated and all may ride without masks. If the activity includes anyone who is unvaccinated, all participants must be able to social distance and wear a mask.
ALTSD states that if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in staff or residents at a facility, all staff and residents should be immediately tested regardless of their vaccination status. The department states that two rounds of facility-wide testing for all previously negative people should take place every three to seven days until there are no new positive cases of the virus for 14 days.
Unless there is an outbreak, fully vaccinated staff don’t have to be routinely tested. According to the department, unvaccinated staff should be tested with a laboratory test once a week unless the facility is in a county with a positivity rate of 10% or more where unvaccinated staff must then be tested twice per week.
If a staff member is sick or is showing symptoms, the must be tested immediately and not allowed to work in any long term facility while they are ill. Residents who are fully vaccinated don’t need to be routinely tested unless there is an outbreak.
Unvaccinated residents need to be tested if they are exposed or are symptomatic at least twice a month if they regularly leave the facility. Additional information can be found online at cv.nmhealth.org.