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.