New York state officials are closely monitoring nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the state amid concerns over the spread of a new variant of the virus around the globe, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said.
But for now, state officials will not alter the unrestricted visitation guidelines for nursing homes, Hochul said, pointing to a lack in the rise of hospitalizations among residents.
"It's a very different dynamic than we were experiencing last year and a year and a half ago, which was a huge vulnerability," she said at a news conference on Monday in New York City. "We're not seeing high numbers of nursing home people entering hospitals right now. If that changes, we can turn on a dime."
State health officials two weeks ago moved to lift restrictions on visits to nursing homes, which have been especially vulnerable to the spread of the virus. Hochul over the weekend moved to provide access to booster shots for people in nursing homes, who were among the first to receive the vacccine.
Hochul called the prior visitaiton rules "a very harsh policy for family members" but said the state is willing to be flexible with its guidelines amid the uncertainty over the new vairant known as omicron. That variant is yet to be detected in the U.S.
"My laser focus is providing not just the vaccine, but the booster shot," she said.