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Nursing Homes in Micro-Cluster Zones Subject to New Staff Testing and Visitation Restrictions

Nursing homes in red, orange, and yellow micro-cluster zones must test staff twice weekly, and those in red and orange zones must suspend visitation, under a new Executive Order and related guidance. The twice-weekly testing must commence within seven days from the date of the zone designation and continue until the facility is no longer in a micro-cluster zone. The testing must comply with previously filed testing plans and previously issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and guidance. Staff who work three days per week or less are required to be tested only once weekly. Tests must be conducted at least two days apart.

In addition to imposing new testing requirements in micro-cluster zones, the Department of Health (DOH) is imposing new visitation restrictions on nursing homes in red and orange zones. Nursing home visitation is suspended in red and orange zones, "except for in the following instances: compassionate care (i.e. end of life, hospice situations) medically or clinically necessary (i.e. visitor is essential to the care of the patient as determined by the facility and treating provider), and necessary legal representatives."

To determine whether a facility is in a micro-cluster zone, search for its address here

Nursing homes are reminded that, under Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) testing guidance, facilities in counties with a positivity rate of above 10 percent must test staff twice weekly, regardless of whether they are in a New York State micro-cluster. The CMS data are available here.

Facilities in micro-cluster zones should order double supplies through their weekly DOH reports. The federal government is also distributing additional Abbott BinaxNOW cards.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8838