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Cuomo announces expanded guidelines for nursing home visitations

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Mon, Feb 22nd 2021 07:25 pm

Visitations under expanded guidance can begin Feb. 26 in accordance with CMS & CDC guidelines

Department of Health strongly recommends nursing home visitors take a rapid test before entry; DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes at no cost to visitors

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced new, expanded guidelines for visitation of residents in nursing home facilities in accordance with CMS and CDC guidelines to begin Feb. 26. The New York State Department of Health recommends visitors take a rapid test before entry into the facility, and DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes to facilitate their ability to test visitors on-site and at no cost.

Visitation continues to depend on the nursing home facility being free of COVID-19 cases for 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing.

"One of the most devastating aspects of this virus has been how it separated families from their loved ones, making an already difficult situation even harder to bear," Cuomo said. "Thanks to the dedication of New Yorkers, we're now at a point where we can begin to expand nursing home visitations under strict guidelines to protect the health and safety of residents."

For counties with COVID-19 positivity rates between 5-10% on a seven-day rolling average, visitor testing is required and visitors must either present with a negative COVID-19 test, either PCR or rapid, within 72 hours; or facilities may utilize rapid tests to meet the requirement. For counties with COVID-19 positivity rates below 5% on a seven-day rolling average, visitor testing is strongly encouraged and rapid tests may be utilized. Alternatively, visitors may provide proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination no less than 14 days from the date of the visit and no more than 90 days prior to the visit. Visitation will not be permitted if the county's COVID-19 positivity rate is greater than 10 percent. Compassionate care visits are always permitted.

Based on the needs of residents and a facility's structure, visitation can be conducted in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces and outdoors. The number of visitors to the nursing home must not exceed 20% of the resident census at any time, and the number of visitors and time allocated to visitation should be considerate of this capacity limitation.

Full DOH guidance for nursing home visitation can be found here.

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