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Group pressing state to loosen up visitation rules at nursing homes

Aug 30, 2020 5:30 am
a href="https://altamontenterprise.com/08282020/new-york-nursing-homes-push-less-stringent-requirements">Melissa Hale-Spencer is reporting for the Altamont Enterprise nursing homes in the state of New York are pushing for less stringent visitation requirements. On August 28, Stephen Hanse, president and chief executive officer of the New York State Health Facilities Association and the New York State Center for Assisted Living delivered a letter to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo asking the state to conform to federal guidelines issued on Aug. 25. The association represents more than 425 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In mid-July, the state opened up nursing homes to visitors for the first time since mid-March, with strict guidelines that require a nursing home to be free of COVID-19 for 28 days. Only two visitors per resident may visit at one time, and visitors must have their temperature taken before entering and than use a face mask and socially distance themselves while in the facility. Each nursing home was required to develop a plan for visitors and provide it to the state health department. At the time this was announced, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said, “If one worker comes back positive, it sets the clock and they can’t open up for 28 days.” McCoy reported this week that not one single nursing home in Albany County has been able to admit visitors. The letter to the governor calls cutting the waiting period in half to 14 days, following a positive COVID-19 test for staff or residents before visitors can be admitted. It also requests that testing of employees be targeted rather than requiring all workers to be tested every week. New York was ahead of the federal government in setting requirements for nursing-home visits and for testing of staff and residents. Nationwide, more 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been of nursing-home residents who make up approximately one percent of the U.S. population. Read the full story in the Altamont Enterprise.