City of Albuquerque Issues Guidelines for Nursing Homes to Keep Seniors Safe

Assisting senior service facilities to keep seniors and staff safe during the coronavirus outbreak

April 6, 2020

The City of Albuquerque is reminding all facilities serving seniors of the stringent guidelines to keep seniors and staff safe during the coronavirus public health emergency. In addition to guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), the City is also requiring these facilities to cancel all communal dining and instead have residents eat in their rooms using single service items.

“Communal living arrangements like nursing homes seriously increase the risk facing our seniors, and we’re calling on providers to increase measures to keep them safe in due proportion,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “To help keep people as safe as we can during this pandemic, we are issuing these guidelines to remind our senior-serving facilities of best practices around the use of space, preparation of food, community gatherings and other steps to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community.” 

The following guidelines have been shared with senior-serving facilities in Albuquerque:

  • Take measures to restrict facility access for all visitors, non-medical health care providers, vendors, and other non-essential individuals.
    • Follow strict infection control guidance when health care providers are visiting the facility.
  • Screen anyone entering a facility for signs of respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat) except EMS workers responding to an emergency health need.
    • Those with symptoms of a respiratory infection are not to be permitted to enter the facility at any time.
  • All residents and staff are to be screened for fever and respiratory symptoms.  If found positive for COVID-19, isolation guidance must be followed.
  • Staff who work in multiple locations should be identified and limited to one location if possible.
  • Continue to remind residents and staff to practice social distancing and perform frequent hand hygiene.
  • All activities are canceled.
  • All communal dining and buffets are canceled.
    • Dining should occur in resident’s rooms using single service items.
    • If residents are expected to retrieve meals form a central location, social distancing (6 ft. from each other in line) and “to go” containers must be implemented.

The guidance applies to nursing facilities, including but not limited to skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day cares, hospice facilities, rehabilitation facilities with older adults patients, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with disabilities.

Anyone with questions about COVID-19 or in need of clinical guidance is urged to contact NMDOH at 1-855-600-3453 or visit the NMDOH COVID-19 website at

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the care of a resident is asked to contact New Mexico’s Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1-866-451-2901.

# # #

Emergencies challenge the delivery and management of emergency public information, warning and emergency protective action notifications. The Albuquerque Joint Information Center (JIC) functions as a coordinated Albuquerque Metro Area public information system that will gather and analyze data related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in New Mexico and serve as a source of accurate and comprehensive information.