UTICA, N.Y. – New York State has allowed nursing home facilities, that meet certain criteria, to allow visitors for the first time since March.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities must have been coronavirus-free for at least 28 days, and have sufficient staff on hand to be able to welcome visitors.
The New York State Department of Health recommends visits take place outdoors when possible, or indoors in an area with appropriate ventilation.
Only two people will be able to see each resident at one time, and must be screened prior to the visit.
Visitors are also required to wear masks.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says these measures were put in place to allow residents to safely see loved ones for the first time in months.
“We've had to make some hard decisions, and there's just a lot of people out there who desperately want to see their loved ones, and we want to make sure we can do it in a smart way and we feel that these are the best protocols we can come up with at this time,” said Hochul.
Hochul alsao says it's best that if you can at all stay out of nursing homes, do so. She says she also understands that some people, especially the elderly, may be weary of going into a nursing home to visit a loved one, "And that's understandable, if you don't have to, don't go in. If you can find a way to Skype or Zoom or have a connection or walk up to the window and wave, that is still the best practice if you are worried yourself about contracting the virus or spreading it. I mean anybody that has any hesitation and you can manage a way to have a connection with your loved one without being there in person, by far that is the preferred way, but we want to be accommodating to the countless individuals who have reached out to us who desperately just want to hold a loved one's hand."
Each nursing home is required to send visitation plans to the health department for review and approval.
The state announced the decision to resume visitation last week.