New York State Department of Health Updates Guidance for Nursing Home Visitation to Align With Federal Guidelines

New State DOH Guidance for COVID-19 Testing, Screening Aligns With CMS Guidance

Read The Nursing Home Guidance Letter Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 17, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health today announces new guidance which fully aligns the Department with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) nursing home visitation guidance for COVID-19.

"Enabling families to visit their loved ones safely remains a priority for the Department of Health," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Our new guidance aligns with CMS guidance and recommends that facilities use passive screening, which includes providing visitor and staff education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, and post instructional signage throughout the facility."

The new guidance supersedes all previous Department guidance related to nursing home screening and visitor testing including, but not limited to, DAL NH 21-30, issued on Jan. 4, 2022, and Health Advisory: Nursing Home Testing, Cohorting and Visitation Guidance, issued on October 13, 2022.

The Department also recommends that facilities use other applicable practices such as use of a face covering or mask; specified entries, exits, and routes to designated areas; and hand hygiene. Facilities may choose to continue visitor testing and/or active screening at their discretion.

Active screening refers to requiring anyone entering the facility to complete a symptom screening questionnaire or an in-person interview and/or have their temperature taken before being allowed entry into the facility. In addition, facilities in counties with high levels of community transmission are encouraged to offer testing to visitors, if feasible.

"Improving the quality of life for aging New Yorkers includes making sure they have visits from family and friends," New York State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner for Aging and Long-Term Care Adam Herbst said. "For those who call these facilities home, this new guidance supports our effort to make visitation more accommodating, while keeping residents and staff safe."

Read the Department's nursing home guidance letter here.

Nursing homes are advised that all staff and visitors should continue to adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention.

For more information on establishing a process to identify and manage individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections, please see to the CDC guidance here.