Reducing COVID burden at other healthcare facilities

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health will open an alternate care site at the Gibson Medical Center in Albuquerque Friday.

The site will operate as a limited care facility for recovering, COVID-positive adults who do not require acute care. Admissions are for those suspected of being positive for the virus or exposed to a COVID-positive person and do not have a safe place to isolate or quarantine. It will not contain an emergency department, intensive care unit or surgical suite.

An initial 25 beds will be available for step-down nursing-level care, with an additional 25 beds for isolation or quarantine. Two floors of the facility will be operational with room to expand to two more floors at a maximum capacity of 180 beds.

The NMDOH will be responsible for administration and operations relying on the University of New Mexico for additional expertise and oversight.

Primarily unemployed health care workers, recruited to serve as temporary NMDOH employees, will staff the facility. The state’s Medical Reserve Corps will supplement the staff and if needed the New Mexico National Guard.

“This facility will alleviate some of the immense pressure our state health care system which is rapidly becoming overcrowded and taxed under the shroud of this pandemic,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary-designate Tracie C. Collins, M.D. “Facilitating the opening of this alternate care site as one of the first tasks under my leadership is an honor. The state has been prepared for this type of action and we are ready to provide specified care for New Mexicans in need.”

A video of Dr. Collins touring the alternate care site, providing information on its operations and functions, can be viewed here.