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DOH says nursing homes can allow visitors after 28 days COVID-free

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The New York State Health Department now says nursing homes and long term care facilities that have been COVID-free for at least 28 days can resume limited visitations under federal guidance.

According to DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, residents at these facilities will be allowed two visitors at a time who must undergo temperature checks, wear face coverings and socially distance during their visit.

At least one of the two visitors must be at least 18 years.

For each facility, only 10 percent of the residents can be allowed visitors at any time. For example, in a 100-bed facility, no more than 10 residents can have visitors per day in order to maintain proper safety & social distancing.

Nursing Homes accepting visitors will be required to send their visitation plan to NYSDOH and affirmatively attest that they are following the guidance outlined here.

“With the knowledge we now have about how COVID-19 came into nursing homes – mainly through asymptomatic staff and visitors through no fault of their own – it is critical that as we resume visitations to these facilities we do it in a smart and cautious way to ensure the health and safety of residents and staff,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation in each facility, and make adjustments based on the facts and data moving forward. I know how painful it has been for residents of these facilities to endure such a long period of time without seeing family and loved ones, and my hope is that this adjustment to the visitation policy will provide some comfort to everyone.”

The Department of Health will make adjustments to the visitation policy as appropriate based on facts and data following this initial phase to ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors. View State DOH guidance for resumption of limited visitation at nursing homesadult care facilities and pediatric skilled nursing facilities.

In June, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued guidance saying: “Nursing homes should continue to follow CMS and CDC guidance for preventing the transmission of COVID-19, and follow state and local direction.

Because nursing home residents are especially vulnerable, CMS does not recommend reopening facilities to visitors (except for compassionate care situations) until phase three when: There have been no new, nursing home onset COVID-19 cases in the nursing home for 28 days.”

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