Families say they still can't unite with loved ones in nursing home despite eased guidelines

Visitation guidelines may have eased up in nursing homes in New York, but many families say they still can't reunite.
While nursing home visitations can take place now, many families are still separated, and the state's laws might keep them apart for a while.
Westchester residents Barbara Barhold and Pat Cortelli have a lot in common.
They're friends and both of their husbands of more than two decades live in local nursing homes. Both of their husbands also have dementia.
So after nearly a year of seeing them from a distance, they were excited to reunite when the state announced nursing home visitation would resume last Friday, but the visits never took place. This is because state law forbids them if a facility has just one COVID case in the last two weeks.
And every new case resets the visitation clock back to day one.
So even though the county has a positivity rate low enough for visits, all it takes is one case to keep Barhold and Cortelli on the outside looking in.
They are asking the state Health Department and the CDC to revise visitation rules - either shortening the 14-day COVID-free requirement or make exceptions for people who are fully vaccinated.
They don't blame the nursing homes or the staff - just the policies that exist.
Andres on Hudson nursing home CEO James Rosenman agrees, saying the policies, as they are now, are too "all or nothing."
"That's a threshold that's very difficult to meet. Of course, we'd always like to be zero but it's not a percentage of the number of residents we have, it's not the percentage of the number of visitors that we would have. It's binary," he says.
News 12 asked the state Department of Health if it would consider changing the rules to make it easier for nursing home visitations. News 12 was told no for now because the fear of one case becoming an outbreak is too much of a concern.
A spokesperson says the department will watch the situation and adapt with the changes in the pandemic.
Only one-third of the state's 600 nursing homes are currently eligible for visitation.