Controversial New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally lifted COVID-19 visit restrictions at state nursing homes.
The restrictions had been in place since the start of the pandemic last year.
Persistently high COVID-19 rates had most of the state’s nursing homes off-limits to visitors, despite relaxed guidance intended to help them reopen.
Until this week, state and federal regulations allowed them to allow visitors only if they had no new infections in patients or staff for 14 days.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has relaxed restrictions on nursing homes and allows families to revisit
That point turned out to be too difficult for most to reach. Just over half of the state’s 616 nursing homes were ineligible for indoor visits in mid-March, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.
The figures were the highest percentage of all states.
New York has now updated its visiting rules so that visits can be resumed under certain conditions, even if a resident or staff member has recently tested positive.
The rules also allow visits at all times and for all residents.
Previously, visitors were only allowed if there were no COVID infections among patients or staff in the past 14 days
“We now have three effective vaccines that lead to a significant decrease in long-term care COVID cases and a robust staff testing system to limit the spread of the community when entering an institution,” said Cuomo.
“Now is an opportune time to take the next step and reconnect this community with their families safely.”
State Commissioner Howard Zucker said: “We understand the emotional toll this community has taken from being separated from their loved ones during a particularly challenging year. We believe these facilities can pursue rigorous infection control practices that enable the safe visit they have so often missed. ‘
Cuomo’s announcement came during a week when grieving families held vigils and events to commemorate more than 15,000 residents who died from the coronavirus in nursing homes and other senior care facilities in the past year.
Cuomo’s announcement came during a week during which grieving families held vigils and events to commemorate more than 15,000 residents who died from the coronavirus in nursing homes and other senior care facilities in the past year.
Haydee Pabey has a photo of the late Elba Pabey as protesters gathered last Thursday for a rally that condemned Cuomo’s treatment of nursing homes during the pandemic.
Cuomo is facing allegations that a March 2020 directive from his government contributed to the spread of disease and death among residents, something the state disputes.
More than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York State were released from hospitals to nursing homes at the start of the pandemic under a controversial directive that was eventually dropped amid criticism that the outbreaks were accelerating.
The directive forbade nursing homes from refusing people just because they had COVID-19.
It was intended to free up space in hospitals that had been overrun in the early days of the pandemic and was criticized by advocates of nursing home residents and their relatives, who said it had the potential to spread the virus in any condition that existed at the time. already existed. the highest death toll in nursing homes in the country.
In February, the Cuomo government was forced to admit that it was underreporting the total number of COVID-19 deaths among long-term residents. The numbers were revised upward with nearly 6,500 deaths.
Protesters gather for a rally denouncing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s treatment of nursing homes during the COVID-19 outbreak in recent years on Thursday
Cuomo has denied any misconduct of his nursing home treatment during the pandemic, noting that the number of positive cases has fallen more than 80 percent since mid-January following another wave of post-holiday COVID cases.
Nursing home advocates are delighted that the state is finally lifting restrictions on visits from relatives, but questioned Cuomo’s motives.
“I’m glad the governor is allowing visits. But I doubt the timing, ”said Vivian Zayas, co-founder of Voices For Seniors Fox news.
‘There are the seniors who died of isolation. That number is enormous. Five or ten thousand people died of loneliness. They gave up, ”Zayas said.
Cuomo releases positive news to generate negative news about his research. The policy change is too little, too late. ‘
Susan Sineo stands next to a presentation with the number 15,000 to indicate estimated deaths in nursing homes. Cuomo is facing a federal investigation into the state’s reporting of COVID-19 among nursing home residents
In addition to a number of state and federal investigations into nursing homes’ COVID policies, he is also facing claims of sexual harassment.
Another probe was launched this week in response to reports that Cuomo used state officials to improperly arrange coronavirus testing for his family members and beneficiary officials during the start of the pandemic.
On that point, a Cuomo spokesperson has denied wrongdoing, but early access to testing has not been disputed.
“We’re surprised Cuomo is still in office,” Zayas said. Our decision to go through this is still strong – that Cuomo be impeached or resigned. We want Cuomo to be held accountable at the federal and state levels. ‘
Lindsey Boylan and other politicians hold a rally last weekend to impeach Cuomo in Washington Square Park