Visitation at hospitals, group homes allowed beginning Friday

Local News

ALBANY, NY – Governor Cuomo announced today that hospitals and group homes for the developmentally disabled may resume visitations.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on the decision.

It’s a big day for families with a loved one in a hospital or a group home.

One father of a disabled young person with autism says the news is a huge Father’s Day present.

((Andrew Cuomo, Governor)) This was always a balance of public health versus the person relationships.

Hospitals are able to welcome visitors again at their own discretion while following state guidelines.
Same goes for group homes beginning Friday.

((Andrew Cuomo, Governor)) It is up to the discretion of the group home. They have to tell the state if they’re allowing visitors and again they have to follow state guidelines masks, etc.

Bill Gettman who is the head of Northern Rivers Family of Services and a parent of a child with autism says it’s been a hard and scary time.

‘We’ve been waiting since March to make contact with our kids and I think the Governor and the Department of Health have been trying to balance good health, good safety, with parental contact, so we applaud the Governor and the Health Department for opening that,” says Gettman.

Meanwhile visitations at nursing homes is still not allowed.

((Andrew Cuomo, Governor)) We’re still studying it. There’s still a high risk and when the Health Department advises me that it’s safe we’ll do it. I understand the demand, I understand the desire. But the health department doesn’t think the reward justifies the risk at this point.

Back to group homes– Gettman says there are 38,000 individuals who live in them in New York State.

UHS released the following statement regarding visitors:

UHS looks forward to allowing visitors soon

People will soon be allowed to visit their loved ones in hospitals and group homes again, according to a new order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

We at UHS will be studying the visitor plan that will be issued by the New York State Department of Health to determine the new guidelines for admitting visitors to UHS facilities across the Southern Tier.

Until the new plan is in place, we will remain under our current policy, which prohibits most visits.  The updated policy will be announced to the public on UHS’ website, nyuhs.org.

The move by Gov. Cuomo comes as New York continues to see lower hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.  Visits had been banned for nearly three months.

The new policy for visiting will include a limit on how long you can visit someone, rules for wearing masks and other personal protective equipment, and a requirement for having a temperature and symptom screening before your visit.

UHS and other hospitals in New York will still have the right to restrict visits at their own discretion.

The reopening to visitors affects only hospitals and group homes.  It is still unclear when visitors will be allowed to return to nursing homes.

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