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NYS releases guidelines for nursing home visitations

Dr. Zucker says they will focus on the county rate of COVID submissions to determine who needs to be tested prior to visitation.

ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Department of Health has released more guidelines for nursing home visitations.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker spoke during a conference call Monday afternoon with Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo first announced nursing home visitations could resume last Friday during a briefing with the press. 

Dr. Zucker says they will focus on the county rate of COVID submissions. In counties with less than a 5% positive rate, visitors will not need to test prior to visitation. However, the state is still encouraging testing.

If a county has a positive rate of 5% to 10%, there should be testing within 72 hours for the PCR test. The state says they will help nursing homes to provide financing for rapid testing. 

If a county has a positive rate of 10%, then no visitation is allowed, except for other reasons. If there are cases within 14 days, the state will follow the CMS guidelines. 

If a visitor has had two vaccines, and it's been 14 days since their second vaccine and they're still within 90 days of that second dose, there is no need for a test, but they are still encouraging testing, as you can carry the COVID-19 virus in your nasal passages.

Currently, nursing homes can only have visitors if they haven't had a new COVID-19 case in the past 14 days. Cuomo said on Friday all visitors must be over 18-years-old and residents can only have two visitors at a time.

The new guidelines go into effect on Friday, February 26.