ALBANY, N.Y. – Starting July 15, certain nursing homes can allow visitors again, according to the New York State Department of Health; but there will be limitations, according to Commissioner Howard Zucker.
Only nursing homes that have been coronavirus-free for at least 28 days can welcome visitors back to the facilities, which was a condition set by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
“With the knowledge we now have about how COVID-19 came into nursing homes – mainly through asymptomatic staff and visitors through no fault of their own – it is critical that as we resume visitations to these facilities we do it in a smart and cautious way to ensure the health and safety of residents and staff,” said Zucker.
Several guidelines and restrictions must be followed, including:
- Two visitors per resident at a time, and one must be at least 18.
- Only 10% of residents can see visitors per day, in order to maintain social distancing standards.
- Visitors must have their temperatures taken prior to the visit.
- Visitors and residents must wear masks during the visit.
- The nursing home cannot have a staff shortage, and must have workers to support visitation procedures.
Zucker says nursing homes will have to submit visitation plans to the department of health for approval.
The New York State Health Facilities Association issued a statement about the decision, saying, in part:
“Nursing homes throughout New York have made incredible strides in eradicating COVID-19 from their facilities and today’s visitation policy recognizes the success of their enormous efforts in battling this virus. The policies announced today by the Department of Health are thoughtful and truly safeguard residents, staff and visitors while allowing in-person resident visitation."
See the full guidance issued by the Department of Health below: