HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was a turning point Wednesday for a nursing home on Long Island. It met tough state standards to allow visitors back.

It has been a long year for the most fragile among us. Visits were stopped last March, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

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There was jubilation inside the Nassau Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, thanks to new guidelines that allow in-person indoor visits.

COVID VACCINE

Jocelyn Moor was a little stunned by the surprise when the 93-year-old saw her daughter and son-in-law in the flesh for a socially distant reunion.

Her daughter had been visiting the nursing home daily before the pandemic started. But all that changed on March 13 when doors were sealed and visits were forced to take on creative forms.

Families said they could feel the isolation back then.

“She’s a little confused as to why I can’t see her, why I can’t hug her, why this glass is here, why we have to stand so far away. A day like this means everything,” Moor’s daughter, Reinette Krajci, said.

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Now, under strict state guidelines rolled out last week, visitors must show a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours. Some homes are providing rapid tests at the door.

“By providing the rapid testing, people can just come, wait 15 minutes, and come see their loved ones whenever they want,” said Jackie Kreismann of Excelsior Care Group.

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Visits are limited to a half hour in a designated visiting area, and by appointment only.

The facility must also be free of COVID cases for 14 days.

It’s a bar that’s still too high for most nursing homes in the state. As of Wednesday, only 211 out of more than 600 nursing homes met all the requirements to be eligible for visitors.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

For some, the wait has been agonizing.

“Being close to the people you love, that’s what’s important. That’s what keeps you going,” nursing home resident Patricia McGhee said.

“I look at this as the start to the finish. No matter how much we were able to keep in touch with our tent visits and our FaceTime visits, there is nothing like seeing a loved one face to face,” Nassau Rehabilitation and Nursing Center administrator Jacob Blobstein said.

It’s a turning point toward normal.

The guidelines are different depending upon how high the COVID transmission rate is in the nursing home’s county.

Carolyn Gusoff