While hundreds of family members got to visit and even embrace loved ones in central New York's local state prisons over the weekend, as visitation resumed on Saturday, family members with loved ones in nursing homes mostly wait; held hostage by state-imposed criteria that, for many facilities, are unattainable. Most notably-a nursing home must have at least 28 consecutive days without a COVID-19 case.
"I'm concerned because a lot of these people are almost being treated like they are incarcerated in these nursing homes," says Senator Joseph Griffo, R-47. "They can't leave their rooms, they can't go down hallways, they're not having that interaction with their loved ones and yet we can find a way for the department of corrections to fulfll that with their families. It's just ridiculous and we need to figure this out and do it now."
Griffo is further disappointed by the absence Monday of NYS Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, from upstate's legislative hearing about the spread of Covid-19 in nursing homes, and improved patient outcomes. The hearing went on until nearly 11pm.
"We've been discussing that with the department of health and I'm really frustrated and discouraged by the fact that the commissioner didn't show up for the second hearing," said Griffo.
Adding their voices to the chorus asking for modified, more attainable, nursing home visitation criteria, is Sitrin Healthcare, in New Hartord.
Their statement: "We truly understand that this is hard on the families. Sitrin also feels that the criteria imposed by the New York State Dept. of Health is too stringent. We have had conversations with several legislative representatives here and statewide and voiced our concerns about being able to meet the criteria to reopen, but no changes have been made by the Department of Health at this time."
One local nursing home has made NewsChannel 2 aware that they've attained the criteria and resumed visitation: Lutheran Care, in Clinton.