NY state to ease restrictions on nursing home visits, health commissioner says

An ambulance pulls up outside of the Cobble Hill Health Center on April 18, 2020 in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Photo credit Justin Heiman/Getty Images
By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York state will ease its restrictions on nursing home visits this week, its health department commissioner said Tuesday. 

Starting Thursday, Sept. 17, visitors will be allowed into nursing homes that have been COVID-19 free for at least 14 days, Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a release

Under the state’s current restrictions, only nursing homes that have gone 28 days without reporting any COVID-19 cases can allow visitors to enter. The new guidelines will allow visits at around 500 of the state’s 613 nursing homes, the release said. 

“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,” he added. 

Visitors will still have to adhere to a number of guidelines, including the following:
  • Visitors must present a verified negative COVID-19 test result from the last seven days
  • Facilities must refuse any visitor who fails to present a negative test result, exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or doesn’t pass screening questions
  • The number of visitors at a given nursing home must not exceed 10 percent of the resident census at any given time
  • Only two visitors are allowed per resident at any one time
  • Visitors must have their temperatures checked, wear face coverings and socially distance during the visit
  • Visitors under the age of 18 are prohibited