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NYS: Revised nursing home visitation guidance to align with federal guidelines

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Fri, Mar 26th 2021 10:50 am

Visitation permitted for all residents in nursing homes with limited exceptions

Department of Health guidance can be found here

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on Thursday announced the release of revised nursing home visitation guidance to align with guidelines recently released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The guidance, which takes effect immediately, permits visitation at all times and for all residents with limited exceptions for unvaccinated residents in areas of high community spread and lower resident vaccination rates, residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection or those in isolation or quarantine.

Facilities must still continue to adhere to strong infection control practices.

"From the very beginning, we've used science and data to find the appropriate balance between protecting our most vulnerable populations in nursing homes and the importance of allowing safe contact with their loved ones," Cuomo said. "We now have three effective vaccines that are leading to significant decreases in long-term-care COVID cases and a robust staff testing system to limit community spread from entering a facility. Now is an appropriate time to take the next step and safely reconnect this community with their families."

The number of positive cases in nursing homes have decreased more than 80% since peaking in mid-January during a second COVID-19 post-holiday surge. DOH strongly recommends all facilities offer testing for visitors as COVID-19 is still present in communities statewide. 

Compassionate Care visits, which had previously been allowed in all facilities at all times, will continue under this new guidance.

Zucker said, "We understand the emotional toll that this community has experienced by being separated from their loved ones during a particularly challenging year. We're confident that these facilities can continue strong infection control practices that will allow for the safe visitation they have dearly missed."

This guidance replaces the Feb. 23 guidance, which required a facility to be coronavirus-free for 14 days.

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