State officials are giving the green light for long-term care facilities to allow in-person visits thanks to vaccinations and the drop in COVID-19 infections.
All testing and control measures will remain in place and outdoor visitation remains the preferred method of visiting, the state Aging & Long-Term Services Department and Department of Health announced Wednesday in a news release. Indoor visits will be determined by the size of a room and the number of occupants.
Residents who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to hug and hold hands with visitors, but masks must be worn by all, and hands are to be washed and sanitized after the visit.
Communal dining will also be allowed although social distancing requirements will remain in place – 6 feet for those wearing masks and 12 feet for residents who are unable to wear a mask.
The new visitation guidelines remain linked to county positivity rates, and will not be permitted in facilities experiencing an outbreak until they have followed the required safety procedures and infections subside.
“This vicious virus has taken so much from all of us, but especially long-term care residents,” said Aging and Long Term Services Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez.
“We are overjoyed to announce that we are making progress – we are seeing cases decrease and more people are choosing to protect themselves and their loved ones by receiving the vaccine,” she said.
State Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said “the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, but thanks to more and more New Mexicans being vaccinated and the number of new cases declining, visitation is now possible where the rate of active COVID cases are low.”
In addition, state ombudsmen – advocates who ensure that the rights of residents are being upheld – will transition from virtual visits back to in-person consultations at the long-term care facilities.
For a list of green, yellow and red counties, based on their positivity, visit: https://cv.nmhealth.org/long-term-care-guidelines/ and click on the “County Positivity Rate.” It is updated every two weeks.
To view the updated visitation guidelines in full, click on “LTC Facility Guidance.”