CAPITAL REGION – Nursing homes in New York that have been without COVID-19 for at least 14 days will be allowed to resume limited visitations, state Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced Tuesday.
The decision loosens the 28-day guideline the state previously followed, which was based on recommendations from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The updated guidance will allow eligible visitation in approximately 500 of the state’s 613 nursing homes, the Health Department said. In Schenectady County, the county-owned Glendale Home in Glenville opened to visitors on Tuesday, after that facility had been COVID-free for 28 days.
“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,” Zucker said in a statement. “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,” Zucker said.
The new guidelines go into effect Thursday. Visitors will be required to present a verified negative test result from within the last seven days.