MALONE — The Alice Center has updated its pre-visit testing and mandatory masking guidelines to comply with updated guidance from the state Department of Health.

Starting Wednesday, all visitors to The Alice Center must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, received within 24 hours of their visit, according to a press release from Phillip Rau, a spokesperson for Alice Hyde Medical Center.

Additionally, Rau’s press release said all visitors to The Alice Center must wear a surgical mask for the duration of their time in the facility, according to updated guidelines from the state DOH announced Friday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Rau said a surgical mask is a disposable, loose-fitting and fluid-resistant mask designed to cover the face and mouth, not an N95 or KN95, or a cloth mask.

Susan Biondolillo, associate vice president of long-term care for the Malone hospital, said as the updated guidance for pre-visitation testing and masking goes into effect, The Alice Center has both at-home COVID tests and surgical masks available for individuals upon request.

Visitors to The Alice Center will be provided one test upon arrival to the facility, and are required to administer the test themselves while on the premises before visitation begins. The center said surgical masks will be provided to visitors, if necessary, when they enter the facility.

The updated guidelines for nursing home visitation comes as the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to present challenges in Franklin County and the north country, with Alice Hyde citing a non-COVID gastrointestinal illness Tuesday that prompted Alice Center administrators to ask people to consider delaying or rescheduling their visit to the medical facility.

Biondolillo said this non-COVID illness is currently affecting both employees and residents at the Skilled Nursing Facility and the Assisted Living Program, reiterating the request for visitors to delay visitation to The Alice Center until further notice.

“Our goal is to do everything possible to protect our residents, our staff and the community-at-large,” Biondolillo said. “The illness has been moving rapidly through The Alice Center and is affecting both our residents and staff. For the protection of our residents and our community, we are asking visitors to please consider connecting with their loved one over the phone or video chat until further notice.”

Starting Wednesday, all visitors to The Alice Center must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, received within 24 hours of their visit, and must wear a surgical mask for the duration of their time in the facility, according to updated guidelines from the state Department of Health.

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