New York to allow indoor nursing home visits starting Friday

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Indoor visits will resume at New York nursing homes starting this Friday.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said whether visitors should be tested prior to entry will be based on the positivity rate of the surrounding area and whether visitors have been vaccinated.

If a county has a less than 5% positivity rate, testing will be recommended, but not required.

If a county has a 5% to 10%, positivity rate, visitors will be required to get tested and provide a negative result within 72 hours of the visit.

If a visitor has had two doses of the vaccine, there is no need for a test, however, it is still encouraged.

Mask wearing and social distancing will be mandatory.

Visitations will not be allowed in counties with a positivity rate that is 10% or higher or in a facility that had confirmed cases of the virus within the past 14 days.

The number of visitors to the nursing home must not exceed 20 percent of the resident census at any time and the number of visitors and time allocated to visitation should be considerate of this capacity limitation.

The full guidelines can be found here.

Last week the governor said the state Department of Health would recommend reopening visitation for nursing homes and issue guidance in accordance with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is going to be a very big deal for nursing home residents and families," Cuomo said on Friday.

The Department of Health will provide tests to nursing homes at no cost to visitors.

The governor said 100% of nursing home staff and residents have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine.

Approximately 73% of all nursing home residents have been vaccinated.

The announcement comes as the Cuomo administration faces mounting criticism over its handling of the pandemic in nursing homes.

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