NEW JERSEY — New Jersey families with loved ones in nursing homes can begin seeing one another again amid the COVID-19 outbreak, state health officials said.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Friday the reunions could begin to take place on Father’s Day.
"We all know being apart from our loved ones has been one of the most difficult challenges for all of us during this pandemic," Persichilli said.
However, facilities must adhere to several requirements. Those include that reunions must take place at designated outdoor areas, masked staff members must also be in attendance and residents and family must sign a consent form acknowledging that possible exposure to coronavirus can occur.
Only two visitors will be allowed at the time and must be six feet apart from the resident. If visitors show symptoms for COVID-19, they will not be allowed to come. Visitors also cannot use the facility's restrooms.
A resident who has been infected with COVID-19 or is in quarantine cannot have visitors, Persichilli added. Once their isolation is discontinued, they are able to have visitors.
New Jersey’s nursing homes have been hard hit by the virus, with nearly half of the deaths from COVID-19 occurring in long-term care facilities.
The state has reported 168,496 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in the state, with 12,835 deaths, according to the health department.