nursing homes

New York State Department of Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York will begin allowing visitors to see loved ones at nursing homes that have been coronavirus-free for 14 days, down from 28 days under previous rules, the health commissioner said Wednesday.

The policy goes into effect Thursday, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. State health officials will monitor to ensure more visits don't increase COVID-19 cases, he said.

"We understand how trying it has been for New Yorkers to not see their loved ones and the challenges they've had to endure during this unprecedented pandemic,'' Zucker said.

Family members of nursing home residents, testifying at a legislative hearing this week, told harrowing tales of neglect and unresponsive staff and administrators while the COVID-19 pandemic raged in New York this spring. 

Virginia Wilson-Butler said her aunt Eva Johnson’s care in a Brooklyn nursing home was substandard even before the pandemic, with staff not available to feed her or change a soiled bed.  

NY to allow limited visitation at nursing homes

Jul 10, 2020
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

New York state will now allow limited and regulated visitation at nursing homes that have been free of COVID-19 for at least 28 days, the state Department of Health said Friday.

Given that the state claimed earlier this week that visitors were partly responsible for previously spreading the virus at those facilities, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said they’re proceeding with caution.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories

More than half of the residents at the Elm Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canandaigua tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the Ontario County public health department said Thursday.

“It’s like wildfire in a place like that,” said Ontario County public health director Mary Beer. “It's a very, very contagious virus. People need to be aware, whether they're in a nursing home or not.”

A consortium of five nursing homes in the Rochester area have released a statement about the threat their facilities face from the coronavirus.

The statement comes from The Alliance for Senior Care, which consists of five not-for-profit skilled nursing facilities that includes Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, Friendly Senior Living, Jewish Senior Life, St. Ann’s Community, and St. John’s.

The Alliance was first formed in May 1997 to address industry issues, generate cost savings, and share best practices.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories

One-eighth of all the COVID-19 deaths in Monroe County were residents at a single nursing home: St. John’s Home in Rochester, according to data published Friday by the New York state health department.

As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 grew at St. John’s, the home expanded testing for the novel coronavirus, finding it in several residents who had no symptoms of the disease.

At least eight people have died of COVID-19 at the home, according to the state’s data.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

As laboratories in Monroe County slowly increased the number of coronavirus tests they can run, a nursing home in Rochester began submitting more samples.

St. John’s Home said Thursday that it had received results for almost 90 tests. Of those, 23 came back positive.

Some tests were submitted for residents who had no symptoms of COVID-19.

provided photo

Local nursing facilities are putting plans in place to protect their residents from the coronavirus.

As of Thursday morning, St. John's Home in Rochester is not allowing any visitors to enter the building unless the family member they are visiting is critically ill and in hospice care.

"I've been doing this for about 37 years, and this is probably the most unsettling situation I've probably seen in that time because the folks that we take care of are the most vulnerable with this most recent virus," said Charlie Runyon, St. John's president and CEO.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

All 100-plus workers at a Rochester nursing home are being laid off this week. 

The Wesley Gardens nursing home just off Goodman Street notified the state labor department that it plans to lay off 132 workers by Friday, though in a later email to WXXI, the home’s president and CEO, Robert W. Jones III, put the number at “approximately 180.”

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

When a sprinkler line broke on the seventh floor of the Wesley Gardens nursing home in Rochester early Thursday morning, some staff feared they would need to evacuate the whole facility.

But by later in the morning, with cleanup underway, the Rochester Fire Department said likely only about 35 residents in the 200-bed facility on Upton Park would need to be relocated.

The water had flowed from the seventh floor to the basement. Staff had to shut down some electrical systems to protect people from short circuits and fire hazards.

The sprinkler system was now causing the very hazard it was meant to protect against. And it was not the first time the system was found to be deficient.