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Hochul announces new nursing home visitation rules

A group of seated and masked nursing home residents
New York NOW

As COVID-19 numbers reach levels not seen since spring of 2020, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced new regulations for visitors at nursing homes.

Visitors will have to wear surgical masks, as opposed to a cloth mask, and present a negative COVID test within 24 hours of the visit.

“We do not need a reminder of how excruciatingly painful it was to have the isolation last year when everything was shut down, and people literally sat in their rooms, not understanding why their loved one couldn’t visit them,” Hochul said.

“Ideally, every visitor would be vaccinated and boosted, but we don’t have the authority to create that restriction.”

Those new regulations come as New York’s seven-day average positivity rate is at nearly 22%, with 155 statewide deaths reported on Thursday.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, speaking alongside Hochul in Manhattan Friday, also drew attention to a rise in pediatric infections, and hospitalizations.

“The rate of increase among children is going up faster than it is among adults,” Bassett said.

“Although the numbers of children affected are fairly small, when we first reported on this in our alert on December 25th, we were talking about, about 150 children who had been admitted, and we’re now up to 570-some children admitted in the most recent week.”

She noted that most of the pediatric hospitalizations were among the unvaccinated, and urged parents to get their children scheduled for the shot.