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With most nursing home residents vaccinated, Las Cruces families have emotional reunions

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - In their 57 years as a married couple, Carol Coon never imagined she'd be separated from the love of her life, Bill.

 “It has been very difficult not to be able to see him in person," Carol said. "It’s probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do."

When her husband's dementia grew unmanageable, Carol said she had no choice but to find him better care with Haciendas at Grace Village.

After getting the vaccine, Carol and her daughter Renee saw Bill for the first time in months on Tuesday. The family grew incredibly emotional, exchanging hugs and kisses through masks.

“I’ll take every minute I can get with him in person," Carol told ABC-7. "He’s still mine.”

The majority of staffers and residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes in New Mexico are fully vaccinated, but more than 6,000 declined to get the vaccine.

Out of all the nursing home residents in New Mexico, 77% have chosen to get vaccinated as of this week. A total of 59% of staff members at nursing homes are vaccinated.

In assisted living facilities where residents need less supervision and care, more have chosen to get the vaccine. As of this week, 85% of residents and 63% of staff members are now fully vaccinated.

According to calculations by ABC-7, there were almost 6,200 residents and staffers of nursing homes and assisted living facilities who declined to get the vaccine.

Nursing home staffNursing home residentsAssisted living staffAssisted living residents
Fully vaccinated4,352 (59%)3,640 (77%)2,494 (63%)3,446 (85%)
(Source: New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department)

"These high acceptance rates continue to help us lower the number of Covid cases in our facilities, decrease hospitalizations and deaths, and have allowed us to expand visitation options,” wrote Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, who leads the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department.

Coronavirus / Health / News / Video

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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