Visitation, activities, and testing changes are now in effect for the state’s long-term care facilities (LTCs).
Together with Aging and Long-Term Services, the New Mexico Department of Health has set target goals for the vaccination of staff and residents in LTCs, including 80 percent of staff and 90 percent of residents vaccinated. All LTC residents who are fully vaccinated may have in-room visits with fully vaccinated visitors, without supervision, personal protective equipment (PPE) or social distancing. Similarly, fully vaccinated staff can congregate with other staff members without wearing PPE.
Residents who are not fully vaccinated must be able to social distance and wear PPE during in-room visits.
Facilities must stop visitation if there is an outbreak within the facility and follow outbreak procedures before resuming visitation.
Outdoor visitation is still the preferred and safest option for residents and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
Residents who are fully vaccinated can participate in activities with other fully vaccinated participants and do not need to wear a mask or avoid close contact during the activity. If an unvaccinated resident is present, everyone must wear their mask and the unvaccinated resident should social distance. Communal dining for fully vaccinated residents need not include a mask or social distancing, so long as everyone is vaccinated. If unvaccinated residents are dining in a communal area all residents should wear a facemask when not eating and unvaccinated residents should continue to social distance.
Likewise, if there is a group transportation activity and the driver and residents are all vaccinated, they may ride without masks. If the activity includes a resident or driver who is unvaccinated, all participants must be able to social distance and wear a mask.
If there is an outbreak, (a new COVID-19 infection in staff or residents) all staff and residents, regardless of their vaccination status, should be tested immediately. Two rounds of facility-wide testing for all previously negative people should occur every three to seven days until there are no new positive cases for 14 days.
Fully vaccinated staff do not have to be routinely tested unless there is an outbreak. Unvaccinated staff should be tested with a laboratory test once a week, unless the facility is located in a county with a positivity rate of 10% or more, where unvaccinated staff must be tested twice per week. Regardless of vaccination status, if a staff member is sick or showing symptoms, they should be tested immediately and not permitted to work in any long-term care facility while they are ill.
Fully vaccinated residents do not need to be routinely tested, unless there is an outbreak. Unvaccinated residents will need to be tested if exposed or symptomatic, and at least twice a month if they regularly leave the facility.
Additional information regarding staff and resident vaccination goals, as well as tours, visitation parameters, testing, outbreak steps, compassionate care visits, and congregating can be found on the Long-Term Care site at CV.NMHealth.org.
The State of New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department [ALTSD] serves more than 200,000 seniors, adults with disabilities, and caregivers across the state with support, services, and resources. Throughout the pandemic, ALTSD provided more than 3 million meals to seniors and adults with disabilities and continues to provide approximately 21,000 grab-n-go meals each day. With a dedicated staff and the help of 4,700 senior volunteers, the department strives to help thousands of New Mexicans achieve healthy aging, attain lifelong independence, and maintain their dignity.