About 500 nursing homes in New York will now be eligible to allow visitors, starting Thursday, after the state Department of Health issued new guidance relaxing the number of days those facilities must be COVID-free to welcome outside guests.
Nursing homes will now be allowed to have visitors if they’ve been without COVID-19 for at least 14 days, which is down from the current requirement of 28 days.
Visitors will also have to present a negative COVID-19 test result from the last seven days, according to the guidance. They’ll also be screened for the virus at the door, and will be required to wear masks and maintain a social distance while inside.
Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said the trends of the disease in New York allow for more lenient visitation guidance compared to a few months ago.
“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,” Zucker said.
The number of visitors in each eligible nursing home will be capped at 10% of that facility’s resident population, according to the guidance. Children will not be allowed to visit.