State loosens rules for nursing home visits

State loosens rules for nursing home visits
People rallied in Lowville last September to support loosening state restrictions on nursing home visits. (Source: WWNY)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - People can now visit their loved ones in nursing homes even if there’s been a recent COVID-19 case in the facility.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced Thursday that the state will allow visits for all nursing home residents at all times.

The new rules take effect immediately.

There are exceptions for unvaccinated residents in areas with high community infection rates and people who test positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine because of it.

In a release, Cuomo and Zucker said the new rules follow guideline from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The new rules replace ones issued on February 23 that only allowed visits if a nursing home was COVID-free for 14 days.

The two officials say the number of positive cases in nursing homes have decreased more than 80 percent since peaking in mid-January.

The Health Department recommends that facilities test visitors because COVID-19 is still present in communities statewide.

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