N.M. nursing homes safe despite rising COVID-19 staff cases

The secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) said COVID-19 safe practices continued at the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities despite rising cases among staff members.

During a Sept. 15 news conference acting New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. David Scrase said from Aug. 15 to Sept. 13 nearly 80 nursing home and long-term care staff members reported symptoms.

He said staff members showing no symptoms or asymptomatic rose to 60 cases from Aug. 24 to Sept. 6 and then fell below 60 starting around Sept. 7.

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“The number for residents and staff are about the same,” he said.

Symptomatic nursing home residents’ cases peaked at around 40 during the week of Aug. 24 through Aug. 24 and fell below 30 Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, according to DOH data.

Asymptomatic resident cases were under 30 Aug. 24 through Aug. 24 and fell below 20 the week of Sept. 7, per DOH data.

Information from the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Division shows the number of COVID-19 cases among nursing home and long-term care facility residents and staffers.

ALTSD Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez said nursing home residents had an 83 percent vaccination rate as of Monday morning and staff members had a vaccination rate of 65 percent.

“We’ve seen a drastic increase over the last couple of weeks in terms of COVID (-19) and the Delta variant coming into long-term care facilities. We’ve had 19 staff across the state symptomatic with COVID (-19) and we have a fair amount that are coming in asymptomatic,” she said.