Health and Safety Information: COVID-19

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Recent Updates

On March 11, 2020, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a public health emergency in order to maximize the resources available to fight the spread of COVID-19 and minimize public health risks for New Mexicans. The fight against COVID-19 is ongoing, fluid, and requires our collective diligence and attention.

New Mexicans aged six months old and over are now eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine series

June 21, 2022

The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) announces young children aged six months through four years old are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination, following approvals from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week.

Parents and caregivers can register their children or dependents for vaccination by scheduling online at VaccineNM.org and adding them to their own vaccine profile. Parents and caregivers can also call their provider/pharmacy to check for appointments. Vaccinations are free. No identification is required to be vaccinated, and vaccines are available to New Mexicans regardless of immigration status.

COVID-19 Response Toolkit

The COVID-19 Response Toolkit for New Mexico Child Care Facilities and Early Childhood Professionals includes required practices for child care, Early Intervention (FIT), and Home Visiting, as well as quarantine and isolation guidance for all providers.

  • Updated June 7, 2022
  • Includes English and Spanish

Accessing Substitute Resources (for providers)

  • Click the button below to login into the Rapid Response Intake Portal
  • Click Facilities Tab and Use Your EPICS ID to Find Your Facility
  • Click on STAF Tab. Providers will call substitutes in your area and make arrangements

A step-by-step guide to accessing substitute information.

Health and Safety Requirements

Updated June 7, 2022

The following is a list of required health and safety practices, Updated June 7, 2022 for all New Mexico Child Care Centers, licensed and registered homes, and early childhood professionals. Early childhood education (ECE) programs are expected to utilize and support  basic, every day infectious disease prevention strategies as part of their normal operations. In addition, programs should monitor local COVID-19 community levels and consider additional prevention strategies as levels increase. Strategies for everyday operations include cleaning and disinfection practices, staying up to date on vaccinations, staying home when sick or symptomatic, and improving ventilation as much as possible.

Strategies to consider for areas with high community levels of COVID-19 include wearing a well-fitting mask to reduce spread of the virus, cohorting, and increased testing (see COVID-19 Toolkit above for more detail).

Required Practices

  • Licensed providers may operate at group sizes and ratios according to their licensed Star level
  • Providers must conduct daily wellness checks on every child at the facility.
  • Training on COVID-19 safe practices is required for all staff, including cooks and transportation staff.
  • Good hygiene practices are required, including frequent handwashing/sanitizing
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned often throughout the day and disinfected at the end of each day.
  • Providers should not serve family-style meals; have employees (not children) handle utensils. Wear gloves when serving children. Plate each child’s meal.
  • Providers must serve meals in the classroom. If spaces such as cafeterias need to be used—as with licensed out of school time programs— stagger use and clean and sanitize between use.
  • Transportation safety requirements:
    • Use the vehicle’s vents and windows to bring in fresh air and avoid using the recirculated air option.
    • If possible, maintain one empty space between passengers.
    •  Require handwashing/hand sanitizer before and after exiting the vehicle
    • Clean and sanitize regularly touched surfaces between groups/runs.
  • Requirements regarding testing for nonvaccinated staff and practicum students:
    • Staff who are not up to date on their COVID vaccines (have not had all the vaccines they are eligible for) must test weekly. Providers must maintain copies of test results for at least twelve (12) months for review by licensing.
  • Mandatory Weekly Child Care COVID-19 Report
    • All New Mexico licensed and regulated child care providers are required to complete a weekly Child Care COVID-19 Report by 10 a.m. Tuesday. The weekly Child Care COVID-19 Report will help ensure accurate and up-todate data in the fight against COVID-19 by gathering data on staffing levels, enrollment data, testing, and current vaccination rates. Failure to comply may result in penalties. Link to online form for weekly reporting can be found at Mandatory COVID Report | Early Childhood Education & Care Department (nmececd.org).
  • Providers must exclude children or staff from the program who have two or more symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and/or test positive, including those who are fully vaccinated /up to date. Anyone who is symptomatic should isolate themselves and seek testing for COVID-19.

5-Day Quarantine and Isolation Guidance 

Quarantine and Isolation Questions

For anyone who tests positive for COVID regardless of vaccination status:

    • Stay home and isolate for 5 days. Day 0 is the day of symptom onset, or the day the positive test was taken (for asymptomatic persons).
    • You DO NOT need to get an additional PCR test if you have had a positive at-home rapid test. Any positive test is considered positive.
    • If you have no symptoms after 5 DAYS, you can leave your house but must wear a mask for 5 more days (surgical grade or KN95 preferred). KN95 masks are preferred.  If an individual cannot wear a mask, they are not eligible for the 5 day isolation and must isolate for 10 days. 
    • If you have a fever, or other persistent symptoms, continue to stay home in isolation until your fever is gone for 24 hours and other symptoms are resolving.
    • To prevent the spread of COVID, tell anyone you have recently had close contact with and encourage them to get tested, monitor for symptoms, and reduce exposure to other people.

    For anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of your vaccination status:

     

    • Get either an at-home rapid test or PCR test if possible and stay at home until you know your test result.
    • If you test positive, follow the guidelines for a positive test result.
    • If you test negative but still have symptoms, continue to stay at home and get a PCR test OR a second at-home rapid test in 1-2 days.
    • If you test positive on the PCR or second at-home rapid test, follow guidelines for a COVID-positive test.
    • If you can’t get a test, but still have symptoms, assume you are positive and follow guidelines for a COVID-positive test.

    For anyone who has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine):

    These guidelines differ depending on your vaccination status.

    If you are up to date on all COVID-19 vaccines that you are eligible for: 

    • Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days. Day 0 is the day of exposure; day 1 is the day after the exposure.
    • Test on Day 5 if possible.
    • If you develop symptoms at any time, get tested if possible and stay at home until you get your results.
    • If you can’t get a test, but still have symptoms, assume you are positive and follow guidelines for a COVID-positive test.

    If you are unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated or without a booster (not up to date on all vaccinations you are eligible for): 

    • Stay at home and quarantine for 5 days.
    • Then wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 MORE DAYS. KN95 masks are preferred. Anyone who cannot wear a mask must quarantine at home for 10 days.
    • Test on Day 5, if possible.
    • If you develop symptoms at any time, get tested if possible and stay at home until you get your results.
    • If you can’t get a test, but still have symptoms, assume you are positive and stay home and follow guidelines for a COVID-positive test.
    • If a close contact is continuously exposed ( I.e., lives in the same household), the unvaccinated close contact must quarantine for the 5 days the positive person is infectious AND an additional 5 days in case the close contact converts to positive. This means that household members living with a COVID positive individual must quarantine for a minimum of 10 days.

    Mandatory COVID-19 Report

    All New Mexico licensed and regulated child care providers are required to complete a weekly Child Care Covid-19 Report by 10 a.m. Tuesday. The weekly Child Care Covid Report will help ensure accurate and up-to-date data in the fight against COVID-19 by gathering data on staffing levels, enrollment data, testing, and current vaccination rates. Failure to comply may result in penalties.

    • Mandated by Governor to ensure accurate and up-to-date data in fight against COVID-19
    • Weekly report due 10 a.m. every Tuesday
      • Mandatory for all licensed and regulated child care providers. Failure to comply may result in penalties.
      • Will continue to gather data on staffing levels, enrollment data, staff well-being, testing, and current vaccination rates
    • Testing requirements for unvaccinated staff remain the same
      • Testing record retention requirements remain the same
      • The major change is that self-reporting on testing and vaccination is now required on a weekly basis
      • Purpose is to collect aggregate data, not data on specific individuals

    Mandatory Weekly COVID-19 Report for Licensed and Regulated Child Care Providers

    All New Mexico licensed and regulated child care providers are required to complete a weekly Child Care Covid Report by 10 a.m. Tuesday. The weekly Child Care Covid Report will help ensure accurate and up-to-date data in the fight against COVID-19 by gathering data on staffing levels, enrollment data, testing, and current vaccination rates. Failure to comply may result in penalties.

    Looking for the Family Support and Early Intervention Division COVID-19 Reporting Portal?

    The Family Support and Early Intervention Division COVID-19 Reporting Portal can be found at the link below: 

    Rapid Response Portal

    Child care programs with apositive COVID case (or close contact) are required to file a report to the New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department Rapid Response Intake Portal system..

    Tutorial Video: Rapid Response Intake Portal

    Rapid Response Portal

    If you need assistance with identifying close contacts and making an online report, you can call the ECECD Rapid Response Hotline (1-833-866-3272) and provide your email address, your EPICS or license ID if available, your phone number, and whether it is a positive case or close contact. Calls will be returned in the order received between the hours of 8 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday. 

    No Cost COVID-19 Testing

    Knowing if you have COVID-19 can help you seek proper treatment and prevent you from spreading the virus to your family and community. Tests require a quick swab inside each nostril, and results can be read in just minutes.

    Testing from Vault

    Testing is also key to protecting ourselves. The State of New Mexico is proud to offer fast and accurate COVID-19 saliva testing, at no cost, to any person who feels they need a test from Vault Medical Services.

    COVID-19 saliva testing is available to any person who believes they need to be tested, with or without symptoms. 

    NMDOH Testing

    New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) encourages all New Mexicans to order free at-home COVID-19 tests to your home. NMDOH recently updated its website to make it easier to find testing options by going to FindaTestNM.org. Simply enter your zip code to identify the different test options available to you: 

    The Biden Administration Free At-Home Rapid Testing

    Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 8 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.

    Order your tests now so you have them when you need them.

    Helpful Resources

    Jan. 18th Community Call Presentation and Q&A

    Presentation

    Q&A

    New Mexico Child Care Emergency Preparedness Plan
    Rapid Response

    New Online Rapid Response Portal 

    Child care programs with a positive COVID case (or close contact) are required to file a report to the New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department Rapid Response Intake Portal system: ECECD – Provider Portal (vaccinenm.org) 

    If you need assistance with identifying close contacts and making an online report, you can call the ECECD Rapid Response Hotline (1-833-866-3272) and provide your email address, your EPICS or license ID if available, your phone number, and whether it is a positive case or close contact. Calls will be returned in the order received between the hours of 8 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday. 

    The Test to Stay K – 12 Program (T2S)

    The Test to Stay K – 12 Program (T2S) allows unvaccinated close contacts (students and staff) an option to be tested for COVID-19 in order to attend school and participate in school activities (includes before and afterschool programs) while in quarantine.

    New Mexico Department of Health

    More detailed guidance concerning best practices related to COVID-19 is available from the New Mexico Department of Health.

    How is ECECD helping child care facilities keep their staff and children healthy and safe?

    When a positive case occurs, ECECD implements its Rapid Response process. This includes temporarily closing the facility for cleaning, as well as contact tracing, instructions on isolation and quarantine, and additional steps.

    Please download this memo from ECECD, the NM Public Education Department (PED), and the NM Higher Education Department (HED) to learn more about the Rapid Response process, including information about the state’s Watchlist and Closure list (Spanish version).

    If child care providers need additional personal protective equipment (PPE), they may email child.care@state.nm.us.

    What Families Should Expect of Child Care Providers

    Child care providers in New Mexico are required to follow the health and safety requirements listed above.

    What Child Care Providers Expect of Families

    Consistently follow the COVID-19 health and safety requirements listed above.

    Vaccinations 

    If you haven’t already, now is the time to schedule your COVID-19 booster. The CDC says everyone 12 and over who is fully vaccinated should get a booster. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and they are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control in New Mexico. The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower for people who are vaccinated, compared to unvaccinated people. Boosting your immunity keeps you and your family protected. Schedule your booster today at VaccineNM.org. Schedule an appointment by phone 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day by calling 1-855-600-3453, then select option 3.

    The New Mexico Department of Health and the Public Education Department recently announced that children ages 5 to 11 are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This follows federal approvals by both the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parents/guardians can register their children for the vaccine at Get Vaccinated New Mexico | NMDOH (vaccinenm.org) Parents/guardians can also link their accounts to their dependent’s accounts at vaccineNM.org/kids. A dose of Pfizer for children 5-11 contains one-third the amount of active ingredient compared to the adult dose. Children would receive a second dose 21 days or more after their first shot.

    Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose, regardless of which vaccine already received. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. You can also find a booster frequently asked questions at Get Vaccinated New Mexico | NMDOH (vaccinenm.org)

    Available data right now shows that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.