Visits to Nursing Homes May Soon Resume in New York – Carefully

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With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New York remaining stable, the state Department of Health has begun the process of again allowing visitors to see loved ones at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

The Department has announced that facilities located in a Phase 3 or Phase 4 region of the state that have been COVID-free for a period of at least 28 days will be allowed once again to welcome visitors on a limited basis. There must be an absence of any new onset of COVID-19 among staff or residents in order to start the 28-day clock.

Each home must prepare a visitation plan and submit it to DOH for approval. Restrictions on visitations as expressed in the department’s guidance:

  • Residents are restricted to two visitors at a time.
  • Visitors must submit to temperature checks, wear facemasks, and maintain appropriate social distancing during their visits.
  • Only 10 percent of residents are allowed visitors at any one time.
  • The DOH is asking homes to lean toward outdoor visits.
  • Indoor visits will be OK as long as visits take place in a space that is well-ventilated. The space is limited to 10 people, who must stay socially distanced.
  • Homes will be required to attest to the fact that they are following the guidance.
  • Homes must post their visitation plan on their external website.

The homes must meet a number of other requirements as laid out in the Department of Health’s visitation guidance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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