Updated: May 20, 2020 06:04 AM
Created: May 19, 2020 06:08 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Residents at an Albuquerque retirement facility were able to breathe a little easier after no residents tested positive for COVID-19.
The 435 residents at La Vida Llena Life Plan Community have been tested twice consecutively with no confirmed positives—a sign that the tide may be turning in the fight against coronavirus.
‘It is, I can tell you, it is just an absolute load off our minds,” said Mark Goodman, corporate director of community development for La Vida Llena.
"As long as there were positive cases, you know, our overriding concern has been making sure we protect our residents and staff to the best of our ability,’ he added.
At one point, there were more than 50 cases of COVID-19 at the retirement facility. Officials said most of it was contained to the nursing home facility, which houses around 10% of their residents. Eighteen residents died because of the virus.
Goodman said he hopes the worst of it is over.
"They gave us the highest ranks that CMS gives on an inspection saying we were in substantial compliance and found no deficiencies,” he said.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency, made an unannounced inspection last week. Goodman said they passed with flying colors.
On Tuesday, they announced their residents are COVID-free.
Goodman said the biggest thing that helped was testing.
"We weren't able to test early on and thereby asymptomatic individuals were able to spread the virus, so I think going forward, God forbid we have another pandemic like this, but in similar situations, testing from the very start and testing everyone to trace the virus so that we can stop it in its tracks,” he said.
But life for the other residents is not going back to normal just yet.
"I think it's safe to say that life will be different. We put out a communication, just this morning in fact, to the residents and staff that all of those restrictions that have been put in place are still in place,” Goodman said.
There are still 14 staff members that tested positive and are currently recovering in isolation.
The New Mexico attorney general opened an investigation into the practices at La Vida Llena. A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office said they are hopeful progress will continue.
Goodman said they are cooperating with the investigation.
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