A banner welcomes back visitors to Acadia Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Riverhead. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Visitation can resume in skilled nursing facilities in New York State beginning Sept. 17, under new guidance issued today by the State Health Department.

Here are the essential terms of the new guidance document:

The number of days a facility must be COVID-free has been reduced to 14 days from 28 days, a change nursing home operators and families of residents have been seeking.

The visitor must present a negative COVID test within seven days of the visit, must pass screening questions and must not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms.

The number of visitors allowed in the facility at any one time is limited to 10% of the resident census. No more than two visitors per resident at one time will be allowed.

Visitors under age 18 are prohibited.

Visitation should be limited to outdoor areas, weather permitting. Under certain circumstances visitation will be allowed in an indoor, well-ventilated space with no more than 10 individuals at a time, who must wear face coverings and remain socially distant.

Visitation in resident rooms or care areas is permitted, with few exceptions, including end-of-life visits or parents visiting a pediatric resident on a dedicated pediatric unit.

Residents who are bed-bound will continue to have alternative visitation only, such as video conferencing. Limited visitation may be permitted but should adhere to the same requirements for
other visitors as much as possible. Visitors should go to the patient room and not any other areas in the facility.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.