New York state health officials on Wednesday moved to expand vistiation rules for pediatric nursing homes and adult care facilities.
The new guidance allows for visitors at adult care facilities if they have been COVID-19 free for 14 days, down from 28 days.
The updated guidance does not effect adult nursing homes, which have seen more than 6,000 residents die during the coronavirus pandemic, though the number is likely higher given residents who have lost their lives while in hospitals are not counted as part of that total.
But the visitation rules posted online, which still place limitations on guests, is also an acknowledgement those facilities were less likely to have outbreaks.
“We understand how difficult the pandemic-related lockdowns have been for all New Yorkers, especially for children in nursing homes and their families," said Jill Montag, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health. "Outbreaks in pediatric nursing homes and adult care facilities have fortunately been less common and acute than at adult nursing homes, which has allowed us to expand visitation at these facilities. We continue to be guided by science and concern for residents’ welfare and will monitor facilities that host visitors, to ensure this action does not lead to an increase in cases.”
There are still limitations on guests for both adult care facilities and pediatric nursing homes designed to prevent the spread of the virus.
For instance, pediatric facilities can have no more than two visitors per patient. Adult care facilities may only bring in guests that are age 18 and older.
Guests at both facilities are capped at 10 percent of residents at any given time. And the facilities must still have adequate staffing and access to COVID testing, while guests must be screened for COVID symptoms prior to entering.