WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Visitation is no longer restricted at nursing homes in New York. Current guidance permits visitation at facilities even if a resident is COVID-positive, allowing visitation during an outbreak. Visitors will not be restricted based on vaccination status and will not be asked to demonstrate proof of vaccination upon entry.

If a resident does have COVID, visitors are required to wear proper personal protective equipment. Signage will also be posted on each floor identifying if there is an outbreak and if there are additional instructions for visitors. NYSDOH stated that the only scenario where visitation may be restricted is if a visitor tested positive for COVID, has symptoms of COVID, or currently meets the criteria for quarantine.

Additionally, nursing homes are expected to adhere to the Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention. This includes proper hand hygiene, the use of face coverings or masks and physical distancing at least six feet, cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces, and effective cohorting of residents when COVID cases are confirmed.

Facilities are also required to permit residents to leave as they choose. However, they are urged to remind residents and any individual accompanying the resident to follow all recommended COVID-19 prevention practices, including mask-wearing.

Residents who leave a facility for 24 hours or longer should generally be managed as a new admission or readmission. This includes 14-day quarantines for unvaccinated residents regardless of if they have a negative test upon admission.

All staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities must also continue to follow guidance issued by New York and the CDC, including mandatory mask-wearing. This revised guidance was issued in mid-November by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service. The New York State Department of Health then revised its guidance for nursing home visitation on November 16.