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Coronavirus Update and Infection Control Webinar

This morning, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders held a press conference to provide an update on the spread of the coronavirus in New York and to sign legislation providing a $40 million emergency appropriation to manage the State’s response. The Governor stated that the funds will be utilized for priority needs as they develop and will include buying masks and test kits, hiring additional staff, and obtaining congregate quarantine facilities (typically hotels). He also said that he would send budget amendments to the Legislature that would allow employees to utilize paid leave for any coronavirus illness or quarantine time away from work. Further, during a press conference yesterday, the Governor said that there would be “a special effort for our nursing homes and congregate facilities where senior citizens are being treated.” LeadingAge NY has been in touch with the Department of Health (DOH) in this regard.

Last night, LeadingAge NY joined a coronavirus phone briefing hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for long term care providers. Per the briefing, HHS is aware of and focused on trying to address the issue of supplies, namely the availability of N95 masks. LeadingAge National is actively working with HHS in this effort.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also hosted a telebriefing on its response to the virus. A recording and transcript of the call can be accessed here. Notably, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stated the following:

“…right now we still judge the general risk to the American public to be low, and that includes residents of long-term care facilities. However, as you have heard, in general those that are older and that are medically fragile would be at higher risk if there was a spread in a community. There are general common sense measures that we ask long-term care facilities to do to make sure to protect their residents, and they are the same things that we’ve been talking about, washing hands, identifying people who are sick early to make sure that they get appropriate medical care. And when somebody is sick, trying to keep them from infecting others. Those are common sense approaches that we would recommend in any time when there is transmission of an infectious disease. Like everywhere in the country, we are recommending that people think through what they might do if there is a risk in their community, not that those should be — that they should be taking those measures, but that it is part of general preparedness. It is good to have those conversations in advance so that if you do need to act you are ready to do it.”

The CDC has significant updates and resources on its website, which we encourage members to visit regularly. Members are also urged to join CDC’s March 5th Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Call on “What Clinicians Need to Know to Prepare for COVID-19 in the United States.” For call information and materials, click here.

LeadingAge NY and LeadingAge National will continue to work closely with government officials to monitor the spread of the virus and keep members updated on any new information or protocols. We have developed a dedicated page on our website with all the most up-to-date information, which can be accessed here.

Finally, LeadingAge NY will be offering a webinar on Mon., March 9th from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. to provide best practices in infection control. Stay tuned for more information!

Questions may be directed to LeadingAge NY’s Ami Schnauber at aschnauber@leadingageny.org or Dawn Carter at dcarter@leadingageny.org.

Coronavirus Update and Infection Control Webinar

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