Starting September 17, the restrictions on visitation at long-term care facilities like nursing homes in New York State are relaxing somewhat.

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Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker announced last week that visits at nursing homes will be allowed when those facilities have been free of the coronavirus for 14 days.  The previous requirement had been 28 days without a positive test.

All visits to group homes and nursing facilities had been prohibited starting in the spring as COVID-19 quickly proved to be deadliest among New York’s vulnerable elderly population.

Under the new visitation guidelines, visitors must present a verified negative test result within the previous seven days, and staffers must refuse anyone who doesn't. Staffers must also turn away people who show symptoms or don’t pass screening questions. Visits will generally be limited to outdoor areas and prohibited in resident rooms or care areas.

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Mask-wearing and social distancing is required.  Children under the age of 18 will not be allowed to visit.  Only two visitors per patient will be allowed at a time.