ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Department of Health announced new COVID guidelines for visiting nursing homes. According to the statement, visitors no longer must have a negative test before entry or to screened for COVID.

The new guidance, according to DOH officials, supersedes all previous guidance for nursing home screening and testing. The department currently recommends that nursing facilities use applicable practices such as wearing face masks, having specified entrances, exits, and routes, disinfecting and cleaning surfaces, and continuing to wash their hands.

It is currently optional for nursing facilities to continue testing or screening visitors at their discretion. This includes visitors completing a questionnaire, an in-person interview, or having their temperature taken. DOH recommends facilities in counties with high levels of transmission to offer to test.

“Our new guidance aligns with CMS guidance and recommends that facilities use passive screening, which includes providing visitor and staff education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, and post instructional signage throughout the facility,“ said NYS Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald.

The department said that all nursing home staff and visitors should continue to follow COVID infection prevention.