New York declares updates to nursing home appearance rules

New York health officials announced revisions to nursing home visitation guidelines across the state on Tuesday.

The revised guidelines, which go into effect on Thursday, say that nursing homes can reopen to visitors if they have not had any positive COVID-19 cases for 14 days — which is down from previous guidelines of 28 days.

This updated guidance will allow eligible visitation in approximately 500 of the state’s 613 nursing homes.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker released a statement on the revisions to the guidelines:

“We understand how trying it has been for New Yorkers to not see their loved ones and the challenges they’ve had to endure during this unprecedented pandemic. The number of nursing homes that have taken the necessary steps to protect residents from the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 while working to reopen to outside visitors, shows that adhering to the DOH visitation guideline is the smart and cautious approach to allowing visitations. We continue to be guided by science and concern for residents’ welfare and will monitor nursing homes that host visitors, to make sure this action does not lead to an increase in cases.”

The number of visitors cannot exceed 10% of the number of residents and two visitors per resident are allowed at any one time.

Visitors must have had a negative coronavirus test within the past seven days and must have their temperature checked, wear a face covering and practice social distancing.

The guidelines also state that visitors under the age of 18 are prohibited.

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