First and foremost, this is an incredibly difficult time for the residents, our staff and their families. Our hearts and prayers are with the people fighting this horrible virus and for the families who have lost loved ones.
The staff at La Vida Llena have been in constant communication with Department of Health officials and have been complying with all orders and recommendations. As you are aware, this is new territory for everyone, and things are changing rapidly.
We are a retirement community of 425 residents, with more than 350 of our residents living independently in their own apartments. The remaining residents require various levels of nursing up to and including people in hospice care. We also have 285 staff members, all of whom are essential.
Reviewing the timeline of events, on March 11th, the Governor announced non-essential businesses would be closing and ordered New Mexicans to practice social distancing. That was followed with her March 24th Stay at Home order. Both orders were shared with our residents and their families. At that time, COVID-19 testing was available only to people with symptoms.
Noting the communication from the Department of Health on March 13th, the healthcare section of La Vida Llena was placed into complete isolation on March 14th. We banned all outside visitors except essential healthcare workers beginning March 16th in the assisted living section and March 18th in the independent living section.
This past week, the Governor loosened restrictions on testing allowing asymptomatic people who had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 to receive testing. Friday testing began of all La Vida Llena staff and residents. We are grateful for the Governor’s commitment to everyone in New Mexico, especially to the high-risk senior population. We are also incredibly grateful for our amazing and hard-working staff and the support of the La Vida Llena families.
Since the initial results have come back, we have put the following more stringent guidelines in place:
- We have been communicating with our staff and residents at least daily via our website, emails and phone calls to keep everyone updated;
- We learned there were positive cases on April 2nd, on April 3rd all staff began wearing masks;
- 347 residents and staff have currently been tested. Testing is ongoing as are the results of the tests already completed;
- We will be providing masks to all residents in the coming week with generous support from donors and our staff and residents;
- We are constantly modifying our policies to minimize impact on the health and welfare of the residents and the staff;
- We are working with our Residents Association to continue getting important information out to the residents.