New Mexico’s Long Term Care facilities can start to relax their visitation policies. The new visitation guidelines include parameters surrounding outdoor visitation (preferred), indoor visitation, close contact, communal dinning and activities, and reiterate best practices for visitors, what to do when there is a positive case, and ongoing testing expectations. All activities still include mask wearing and social distancing:
- Outdoor visitation remains the preferred method of visiting, even for those who are fully vaccinated, as the environment poses a lower risk for transmission.
- Indoor visits are also allowed under the new guidance, with requirements surrounding the size of the room and number of occupants.
- If a resident is fully vaccinated, they may choose to have close contact with their visitor, this could include hugging, holding hands, etc., while wearing their mask and washing/sanitizing their hands afterwards.
- Communal dining and social activities are also now allowed, so long as social distancing requirements continue to be followed.
- All testing, infection control measures, and public health instructions (like mask wearing and social distancing- 6ft for those wearing masks and 12ft for residents who are unable to be masked) remain in place and must be followed.
- If there is an outbreak, the facility must pause visitation until all requirements in the guidance have been met.
“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,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins.
All of the new activity options are still linked to County positivity rates and not permitted in facilities experiencing an outbreak, until they have followed the necessary criteria.
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”.