SE NM Excluded from Nursing Home Visitations- Update: 8-7-20
Yesterday, the state announced a plan allowing individuals at nursing homes and other similar facilities the ability to begin visiting with family members outdoors. We certainly understand the need to begin addressing the mental and emotional well-being of individuals who haven’t been allowed to visit directly with their loved ones for half a year now. There were a list of requirement and standards for the individual facilities, such as the fact that the facilities can’t have recently had any positive COVID-19 cases.
There were also regional qualifications, and none of the counties in Southeast New Mexico “qualified” into currently being allowed to begin these visits – due to statistics based on test positivity and average cases per 100,000 residents. Overall, 21 of the state’s 33 counties, including Bernalillo, McKinley and San Juan Counties, were given the go-ahead. Facilities in Lea, Chaves and Eddy County are not yet allowed to begin these visits.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, Eddy County most recently recorded a positivity rate of 10.2% and an average 9.3 cases per 100,000 residents per day, and the requirements were 5% test positivity and less an average of 10 daily cases per 100,000 residents. So we just didn’t have enough additional negative tests, according to the state’s formula.
There was a period of multiple weeks where Eddy County did not have a single new positive case, but we were ordered to shut down everything anyway. When we tried to make the point that decisions should be made based on regional necessity, we were told that New Mexico would move forward or backward as one. This is an example of why many residents of Southeastern New Mexico feel like there’s often double standard being applied to the decision-making process.
Meanwhile, there’s lots of positive information at a local and state level regarding COVID-19. There are no Eddy County COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Thursday evening, but there is one known Eddy County resident hospitalized outside of the county, according to Artesia General Hospital. Please keep this individual in your prayers. Statewide COVID hospitalizations were reported to be at 138, which is down significantly from 180 in late July. The state’s seven-day rolling average for new cases is now 198 a day, which is a decline of 40% from the prior week.
We hope to see this positive trend continue over the upcoming weeks, allowing our businesses to resume operations.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway