New York : With a series of restrictions next Friday they will resume family visits in nursing homes in New York

New York :

In the middle of mighty ‘tsunami’ who persecutes Governor Andrew Cuomo for his management against nursing homes During the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, this Monday the state president announced that family visits to these centers may be resumed next Friday, March 26, with a series of restrictions.

According to the new guidance from the State Department of Health (DOH), no evidence required for visits in counties where positivity is less than 5%. However, in these localities, although it is not compulsory, it is strongly recommended to carry out discard tests.

In counties with a 5 to 10% positivity, tests will be required within the Previous 72 hours to visit.

In the Big Apple until this Sunday the infection rate remained at 4.48% in the mobile period of the last seven days, although specifically The Bronx returns 5.77% of positivity.

Dr. Howard Zucker, state health commissioner, clarified that visits will be “Totally prohibited” in communities with an infection rate greater than 10%.

Nursing homes will be limited to receiving only the 20% of its capacity for visits, and state officials will oversee that these sites have separate rooms, unless residents are alone in a room.

Visitors who have received both doses of the vaccine and are still within 90 days of the second dose, they do not need to be tested.

“Once again we insist to all, it is recommended that they take the exam discard, ”Cuomo stressed.

“They need our affection”

Hours before the official announcement, activists and hundreds of relatives of residents in New York nursing homes, they waited impatiently for the details of the guide that would lead to the longed for reopening of visits.

This implies that once again hundreds of older adults will be able to count on, although with many limitations, the closeness and affection of your loved ones. In some cases, they have been isolated for months.

“They need our eyes and our care. The fact of isolating our parents, grandparents and relatives in general, has caused them terrible damage, “he says. Alexa Rivera, founder of Voces de Ancianos, an organization that promotes changes in the way how these nursing homes are monitored in the state. In the last hours they have focused their attention on the new visit protocols that the state authorities would announce.

Vivian Rivera (left) and her sister Alexa created the Voces de Ancianos coalition. (Photo: F. Martínez)

“One day is an eternity”

Rivera, who lost his mother during the harshest months of the start of the coronavirus outbreak in a rehabilitation center on Long Island, calls for any decision made by the state government to have immediate effects.

“In some cases it is an emergency. Many elderly people are depressed. They don’t want to eat. No one will love the well-being of an elderly person more than their family members. One more day to apply a measure is an eternity. With all security protocols should allow visits now. In addition, the Governor has said that the 73 percent of this vulnerable population has been vaccinated”, The activist reacted.

Meanwhile, the Colombian teacher Juan Ramírez, who lives in Queens, assures that his family “is devastated”, after five months that they can only see “due to accidental video calls” to his 80-year-old grandmother, confined in a long-term care center in Kew Garden.

“His senile dementia accelerated, I imagine from sadness. The times we’ve seen her on camera she doesn’t know us. Sometimes days go by and we don’t have communication with the center. It is a human right that they allow us to visit her, I hope that they are not complicated now with appointments. Besides, they have already vaccinated my old lady ”, the teacher said excitedly.

“We expect changes for our families”

After five months without being able to see his father, who miraculously survived COVID-19 after having infected in a nursing home in Queens, and also face the pain of receiving the body of his uncle, Bolívar Burgos, who lost the battle to the pandemic, also in a nursing home in that county, the Ecuadorian Virginia Burgos and his family decided to dedicate themselves to caring for their father at home.

“We we live the chaos of these centers long-term care. There is no question that the system failed to protect the elderly. My father was infected and his brother could not tell. The worst of all is when 100 days go by without seeing him, without news, without doctors or nurses answering the phone. We hope that changes will occur for thousands of families. Sadly, blood and pain had to flow first”Virginia recounted.

Mr. Bolívar Burgos was infected and died in a rehabilitation center in Queens. His family hopes that the supervision system will improve in these residences. (Courtesy)

New law: family presence during pandemics

In addition, this Monday the state Senate reached an agreement to approve a package of eleven bills to reinforce care, reform the protocols on reports of deaths, norms in the standards of visits and monitor the entire system more closely of nursing homes.

“The tragic situation in our homes of the elderly remains a heartbreaking reminder of the toll this pandemic has taken and has made it clear that real reforms are needed. Must increase transparency and raise the bar, ”said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

And, precisely, one of the laws would allow more people to visit residents of nursing homes during a pandemic.

A bill sponsored by the Senator Rachel May (D-Syracuse) I would designate one or two people from the family group of inmates to be caregivers and supervisors in public health emergencies. These people could enter a nursing home, even if it was closed to the public, as long as they meet the same safety standards as tests than the rest of the staff.

“Having regular visitors is more than just passing time. It’s about saving lives. People is really dying of isolationMay reasoned.

The argument of the legislation is that residents often depend on close family or friends to help with daily personal care.

Governor Cuomo himself also introduced his own nursing home reform proposal last week, arguing that state laws are too weak and that facility operators must be held accountable through measures that include more severe penalties.

More pressures

For several months Cuomo has been the target of pressure about his responsibility in the decision of the past March 25, transferring patients with COVID-19 that they were “medically stable” to nursing homes, when state hospitals were saturated with infected with this infection.

But the controversy surrounding the State Health authorities flared even more when the New York Attorney General Letitia James, revealed an investigation where it is stated that presumably the number of elderly people who died during the initial months of this crisis have not been true: according to the calculations of this complaint, it is estimated that at least 50% more people died of the third age, than the official number reported.

Faced with all this tidal wave of accusations, this Monday 11 New York Democratic lawmakers presented a resolution proposing to censure the New York Governor for the nursing home case associated with the alleged “real number concealment deaths among nursing home residents ”.

Cuomo has defended his management, warning that he understands “the outrage at his underestimation of deaths in those facilities”, but insists that no state policy contributed to that number.

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