AARP: Coronavirus private protecting gear is lacking in nursing properties in New Mexico

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According to a recent AARP survey, 51.5 percent of New Mexico nursing homes are missing personal protective equipment for a week as the COVID-19 pandemic rages.

The national average is about 20 percent, although Aging and Long-Term Services Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez said the state has emergency care for any nursing home that cannot find enough personal protective equipment for employees or residents.

“If facilities are unable to secure PPE on their own, the state will step in,” Hotrum-Lopez wrote in an email to The New Mexican. “The national surge in certain cases has undoubtedly contributed to delays in the supply chain and delivery … which can adversely affect a facility’s inventory. We speak to facilities weekly and continuously monitor supply and demand for [personal protective equipment] in every long-term care facility in the state. Every facility has a safety net … by the state. “

Hotrum-Lopez said the state received and fulfilled five emergency requests for personal protective equipment from nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the past month.

Using data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through Oct. 18, the report also found that New Mexico nursing homes recorded 0.15 COVID-19 deaths per 100 nursing home residents and 1 There were 5 cases per 100 nursing home residents, both below the national average.

In New Mexico, however, around 29 percent of nursing homes are facing a shortage of nurses or caregivers that is in line with the national average.

In recent weeks, cases in the state – both in community care facilities and in the general population – have skyrocketed.

According to the Health Department, there have been 2,735 cases of COVID-19 among residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, which resulted in 451 deaths on Tuesday. Employees in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have tested positive 2,233 times. Five died.

In Santa Fe, cases of COVID-19 have been detected in residents or employees of 11 nursing homes or long-term care facilities in the past 28 days – Brookdale Santa Fe, Casa Real Genesis, El Castillo, Kingston Residence, Legacy Santa Fe, Mi Casa Bonita, Morningstar Senior Living , Pacifica Senior Living, Santa Fe Care Center, Retired in Sierra Vista, The Montecito and Vista Hermosa.

18 people were killed in these facilities, including 10 in the Kingston Residence. At the Taos Living Center, where at least 14 residents were recently killed in an outbreak, director Dave Armijo said it had not tested positive for the past week.

An AARP official said the study highlighted important issues.

“Nine months since COVID-19 entered nursing homes, cases are picking up again, and facilities still do not have the PPE needed to protect residents,” said Joseph Sanchez, AARP state director in New Mexico. “This deficiency must definitely be remedied. Our heads of state must act to keep residents safe and hold nursing homes accountable. “

Hotrum-Lopez wrote that the state had dealt aggressively with the problem. Hotrum-Lopez named protecting nursing home residents a top priority for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, adding that the state “is doing everything in its power to help facilities find and secure personal protective equipment”.

However, the directors of nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Northern New Mexico state that they have made an effort to find new providers who will stay equipped with protective equipment.

Armijo said his regular seller had his orders frozen before the pandemic, so he had to contract with at least 10 different vendors. Edgar Ortiz, director of Santa Fe’s Montecito, said he had to move from one salesman to eight.

“We had to do our homework. You need to plan ahead and order supplies that you may not have had in over a month, ”Ortiz said. “In an eight-hour shift, a caregiver can go through five or six pairs of gloves.”

Adam Spriggs, spokesman for the Kingston Residence in Santa Fe, said the price of N95 masks fluctuated between 300 and 400 percent of the pre-pandemic average.

“We have jumped through so many tires contacting suppliers all over the world,” Spriggs said. “We used face-to-face contacts, told our home office workers to think about suggestions, and checked on Facebook – pretty much anything we can think of to make sure we had enough PPE.”

Armijo, Ortiz and Spriggs reported that personal protective equipment was available at their facilities for no less than a week.

Hotrum-Lopez said all of the state’s 71 or so nursing homes and 250 assisted living facilities conduct weekly surveillance tests on staff and residents. Every positive case triggers a rapid test, while personal protective equipment is available in an emergency.

“Every facility must secure its own personal protective equipment. The state provides help when the long-term care facility alerts us to a shortage, ”wrote Hotrum-Lopez in an email. “In most cases, the state can have the equipment ready within a few days once the facilities request personal protective equipment.”

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