New NY nursing home visitation rules still keeping visitors out

Window visits have become the new normal for Elise Rubin and her 90-year-old mom, Edith.

"Today was supposed to be the day," Rubin said.

It was supposed to be the day the two could finally hug after New York announced earlier this week new guidelines for nursing home visits would go into effect on Friday.

The problem - among the new guidelines including closely monitoring transmission rates in the community to determine if visitors must be tested, an older one still stands - If anyone in a nursing home - staff or resident tests positive for COVID-19 - the facility can’t allow any visitors for 14 days.

"I can go to a Knicks game, I can stay out to eat out in a restaurant until 11 p.m. but I can’t come in to see and be with my mom," she said. "It’s unbelievable."

Officials who run facilities including Gurwin Jewish, a nursing home that has close to 800 staff members and more than 450 residents say the restriction makes it nearly impossible.

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"We’re talking about over 1,000 people per day in the facility and close to 2,000 tests per week," said Stuart Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. "It’s very likely at least one individual will be positive as we test twice weekly."

The Department of Health tells Fox 5 they understand the anguish this virus has caused but "Due to continued community spread, keeping the virus out of congregate settings remains our top priority and asymptomatic spread remains a concern in all corners of the state."

According to officials, out of 610 nursing homes statewide - 194 are eligible for visitation.