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Samaritan Facilities Comply with New Department of Health Guidelines for Long Term Care Visitation

Published on: September 17, 2020

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Health is complying with new guidelines from the New York State Department of Health for restricted family visitation at long term care facilities.

Below is an outline of the new procedures taking effect September 17, 2020. Full guidance from the state can be found by clicking here. Please note that these policies are for visits where no barrier is present, whether indoor or outdoor. They do not impact fence or window visits, which are encouraged to continue while weather permits.

  • All visitors, regardless of age, must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result received within seven days of the planned visit. *The state has since issued follow-up guidance stating that this policy will go into effect September 24, 2020.
  • Indoor visitation will start immediately under these limitations:
    • Restricted visitation will be offered weekdays between 10:00 am and 4:30 pm and on weekends between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm. Each visit will last 30 minutes, and there will be a limit of visits allowed each day.
    • All visitors will be screened, which includes a temperature check and questions about travel history and COVID-related symptoms.
    • Two visitors per resident are allowed. Any visitor under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
    • All visitors must wear a mask and use proper hand hygiene.
    • No physical contact is allowed, including hugging or kissing. Social distancing must be adhered to.
  • All visitation must be arranged through the Samaritan Keep Home (SKH) and Samaritan Summit Village (SSV) activities staff. At SKH, please contact Rose Busler at 315-785-4403, and at SSV please contact Sandra Baril at 315-782-7010. If you have any issues reaching these staff members, please call the respective main phone number and someone will assist you.

The NYS COVID-19 testing requirement is brand new and may interrupt the frequent visitation families are planning. However, there are numerous community locations where COVID-19 tests are offered. Samaritan, through the state, offers free COVID-19 testing to any community member for any reason; however, results take 5 to 7 days to process, so families should plan visits accordingly. An appointment for a free test can be requested at:

In positive news, the updated state guidance allows facilities to resume select small group activities for residents. Also, in the unfortunate circumstance either facility has another positive case, visitation can resume after 14 COVID-free days, rather than the previous wait time of 28 days.

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