The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Relaxation on long-term care visits to start next week

State will phase in visitation at counties with low case counts and positivity rates; Curry, Roosevelt not among list.


Last updated 8/6/2020 at 4:34pm

SANTA FE — A partial relaxation will begin next week for family visits at New Mexico long-term care facilities.

The changes were announced during a Thursday update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office.

The goal is to have one family visit per month. The changes will be phased in starting with counties that have less than 5% test positivity rate and less than 10 average cases daily per 100,000 residents. Locally, that includes Quay and De Baca counties.

In counties that meet the state thresholds, visits at long-term care facilities will be allowed provided the facility does not have active COVID-19 cases. The visits would be held outdoors by appointment, with plexiglas, masks and social distancing required.

For counties not meeting the criteria, the governor said it’s imperative for citizens in those counties to work to meet the criteria.

Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, the state’s secretary of aging and long-term services, thanked families for their patience and for being advocates for their loved ones in facilities.

“It’s really important we get this right,” Hotrum-Lopez said. “This is a very critical population … very vulnerable. We want to make sure we are opening slowly.”

Of the state’s 669 COVID-19 deaths, more than three-fourths of the deaths have been among those 60 and older — 37.9% are residents 80 and older, 21.4% ages 70-79 and 17.5% ages 60-69.

Closed window visits and telephonic/virtual visits are still encouraged, and rules on end-of-life, palliative and hospice visits remain in place.

The state confirmed 212 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, along with two new deaths.


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