New nursing home visitation guidelines start Friday

Around New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York state released new guidelines for visitation at nursing homes that will go into effect on Friday, February 26. Howard Zucker, NYS Health Commissioner, laid out the preliminary recommendations in four parts with much of the guidance dependant on a county’s rate of COVID-19 transmission.

According to Governor Cuomo, this change comes with the current vaccination rates at nursing homes.

Zucker stated that testing for visitation will depend on the county’s transmission rate. If the county has less than a 5% transmission rate, no testing is required for visitation. But if the county has a 5 to 10% transmission rate, the visitor must be tested within 72 hours of arriving at the facility. 

“The testing can be either through a PCR test or a Binax—rapid testing. And we will help with the nursing to provide the testing—Binax,” Zucker said.

However, if the county has a transmission rate that’s greater than 10%, no visitation is permitted except for compassionate care visits. 

“The other reason you would have to restrict visitation is if there has been a case in the past 14 days. And this is the CMS guidelines on this.” Zucker said.

Additionally, if a visitor is fully vaccinated and within 90 days of their second dose, there’s no requirement to get tested for visitation. The maximum number of visitors must not exceed 20% of the facility’s residents at any time.

Lastly, the state will be working with facilities on designating a separate room for visitors or making sure the resident is alone in their room when the visit occurs. 

Zucker stated that these are preliminary guidelines and that the state will be releasing additional recommendations in the coming days.

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