New COVID-19 policy changes take effect this week at Artesia General Hospital

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ARTESIA, N.M. — The Artesia General Hospital will be changing some of its policies due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Eddy County.

In-person visitation will be restricted but patients under 18 years old will be allowed to have one parent in as a visitor.

"It’s kind of rough, especially when they’re kind of young, because a lot of parents can’t go in with their kids or even elderly people," Artesia resident Isaiah Ponce said. "But in general that sucks going to the hospital by yourself."

The hospital is also asking patients to wait in their car and check in by phone until they are called inside for their appointment, even if they are vaccinated.

"Why stop somebody if they have their shot?" an Artesia resident asserted. "Most people in Artesia had their shots there so they’ve got their records, they know who’s there and who ain’t there."

Only 41% of Eddy County residents are fully vaccinated, which is one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

According to the hospital, the new policy changes go into effect this week and are subject to change based on circumstances.

The hospital is urging all Eddy County residents to get vaccinated. They are offering vaccines through their Memorial Family Practice.