The New Mexico Department of Health enacted “Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) for hospitals and other medical facilities around the state on Monday (Oct. 18).
The announcement comes as the state's hospitals reached 100 percent capacity or more, with just 11 ICU beds open as of Monday morning.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous, ongoing, and unsustainable strain on the state’s health care system,” accorsing to a press release from NMDOH. “In particular, the volume of COVID-19 patients - almost all of whom are unvaccinated - have exacerbated existing staffing and other resource shortages.”
Once hospitals switch to providing CSC, New Mexico will “extend limited liability coverage to providers who move to higher levels of care,” such as caring for those with COVID-19
“Because of COVID, New Mexico hospitals and health care facilities have carried an unmanageable burden. Today, the state is offering clarity and support as providers seek to make difficult choices about how to allocate scarce - and precious - health care resources. The goals, as always, remain the same: to save as many New Mexican lives as possible, and to help sustain the health care providers who have sustained our communities throughout this entire pandemic,” said DOH Acting Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D.
Scrase said those seeking non-COVID or non-emergency operations should still seek medical help, even with the lack of available services. “If you’re sick, or think you might be, please call your doctor,” said Scrase.
Along with the new announcement from the state regarding the "crisis standards of care," he government also released a new mandate on public mask wearing. On Oct. 15, governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office said mask mandates in indoor public spaces would be extended.
““Many of us just assume that if we develop a serious illness, there will be an ICU bed available for us,” said Scrase. “It is not time to abandon basic precautions. Our hospital and health care partners remain incredibly, incredibly concerned about the serious illnesses they are dealing with, and the pressure placed upon their institutions and personnel by these continuing infections.”
The new mandate is set to last through “at least November 12,” and could extend longer at the governor’s discretion.