New York Department of Health announces new COVID guidelines for visitors to nursing homes

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The New York State Department of Health has announced new COVID guidelines for visiting nursing homes. According to the statement, visitors no longer need to test negative before entry or for COVID screening.

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The new guidelines, according to DOH officials, supersede all previous guidelines for screening and testing in nursing homes. The department currently recommends that nursing facilities use enforceable practices such as wearing face masks, specifying entrances, exits and routes, disinfecting and cleaning surfaces, and continuing with hand washing.

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. The DOH recommends that facilities in counties with high transmission levels offer to test.

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“Our new guidance aligns with CMS guidance and recommends facilities use passive screening, which includes training visitors and staff on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and posting instructions in entire facility,” NYS Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said.

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

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