When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, everyone knew that the elderly were extremely vulnerable to the disease.  To safeguard nursing home residents, visitation was basically prohibited for almost a full year.  Finally, new guidelines are being implemented for visitation in New York’s nursing home facilities.

According to the Governor’s office, all nursing home residents and staff have been offered a COVID-19 vaccination.  Although all residents have not agreed to be vaccinated, 73% have received the vaccination and that is enough for the governor to open up visitation.

Howard Zucker, the New York State Health Commissioner, announced that new guidelines for nursing home visitation will go into effect on Friday, February 26.  COVID-19 testing is one of the basic requirements for visitation in New York’s nursing facilities.

All visitors must be able to present a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of visitation.  A transmission rate between 5 and 10% for the county where the nursing home facility is located is required.

All nursing facilities must be COVID-19 free.  If a COVID-19 case is confirmed within a nursing facility, that facility would be restricted from having visitors for at least 14 days.

The State Health Department will be working with nursing home facilities to designate a separate room for visitors and the maximum number of visitors within a facility must be less than 20% at any given time.

As we all know, COVID-19 has changed the way we do everything.  The guidelines that were announced are preliminary and certainly, some things will be changed.  Make sure you visit the state’s website to find more information before your next visit to a nursing home facility.

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