UTICA, N.Y. - State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker released the state's new guidance on visitation at nursing homes on Monday.
Zucker says visitation will always be based on the county's COVID transmission rate at the time of the visit.
If a county has a less than 5% positivity rate at the time, no testing is required by visitors.
If the county's positivity rate is between 5% and 10%, proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours is required to visit, but Zucker says there is one stipulation where that can be waived, "If a visitor, and I wanna make this point clear, we are talking about visitors because we have vaccinated all the nursing homes and the vast majority the residents but if a visitor has had two vaccines and it has been 14 days since their second vaccine and they're still within 90 days of that second dose for the vaccine then there is no need for a test, however we encourage to test anyway. And the reason I say that is because you can still have it in your nasal passages so it's beneficial to be tested to be sure that you don't have any in your nasal passage."
If the county's rate is more than 10%, no visitation is allowed at all, at any nursing home or long term care facility.
These were the local positivity rates as of Monday, Feb. 22:
- Oneida County: 1.2%
- Herkimer County: 1.9%
- Otsego County: 1.3%
The facility must either have a separate room for the visit to take place for just the patient and visitor, or the visitor and the patient can be the only people in the patient's actual room.
The number of visitors in the facility must not be above 20% of the resident capacity at any one time.
The updated guidance also states there must not be any new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, and the facility must not be conducting outbreak testing.
These new state guidelines go into effect this Friday, Feb. 26.
Read the updated guidelines below: