Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, at 918 James St., Syracuse. Katrina Tulloch/syracuse.com

SYRACUSE — New York nursing homes are no longer required to make visitors test negative for Covid-19 before entering their facilities, according to revised state rules.

Homes also no longer have to check visitors’ temperatures or make them fill out symptom screening questionnaires.

The state Health Department said the relaxed rules align with revised guidance issued by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“For those who call these facilities home, this new guidance supports our effort to make visitation more accommodating, while keeping residents and staff safe,” the health department said in a news release.

Nursing homes that want to continue visitor Covid testing and screening can do so.

The guidelines say nursing homes should continue to require visitors and staff to wear face masks.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages facilities in counties with high levels of Covid transmission to offer testing to visitors if feasible. If facilities do not offer testing, the CDC recommends they encourage visitors to get tested on their own before coming to the facility.

The health department said nursing homes should continue providing visitor and staff education on Covid-19 signs and symptoms, and post instructional signage throughout their facilities.

Nearly all nursing home visits were banned in March of 2020 when the Covid pandemic began. The state allowed visitors to return on a limited basis in 2021.

Nursing home residents accounted for more than one-third of Covid deaths nationwide.

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