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Dec. 7th COVID-19 Update

New updates pertaining to the COVID-19 emergency continue to be announced by both the state and federal government on a regular basis. The latest developments for providers of long-term/post-acute care (LTPAC) and senior services are reviewed below.

As a reminder, LeadingAge NY continues to convene weekly webinars on Mondays at 11 a.m. to address emerging questions on COVID-19. A recording of our most recent webinar, held on Dec. 6th, is available here, and a list of the items shared by LeadingAge NY staff in the webinar chat can be accessed here. If you have questions for next week’s update or would like the access information, please contact Jeff Diamond.

Cross-Sector Updates

Governor Hochul Deploys National Guard to Nursing Homes and Implements Surge and Flex Strategies

As members have surely been reading in the news, current staffing shortages and concerns about hospital capacity have prompted Governor Hochul to take steps to help ensure that the health care system can respond. While LeadingAge NY members are clearly a part of the equation, the deployment of the National Guard to nursing homes is unlikely to have a significant impact on the issue. Click here for more information.

Members Encouraged to Connect with Local Officials on Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Opportunities

LeadingAge NY reminds members of potential funding opportunities through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. This funding is part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and it provides a mechanism for counties, cities, and local communities to receive funding relief. Click here for more information. Each locality has its own process, so members are encouraged to keep abreast of local efforts and opportunities. Funds will flow through your localities and are meant for a variety of purposes, not just long term care and aging services. The overall objective for these funds includes opportunities for member organizations.

Traveling for the Holidays?

State travel guidance for health care providers follows general Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 travel recommendations set forth here. One recent change of note brought on by the Omicron variant requires those traveling internationally, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative COVID-19 test within the 24 hours prior to departure to the U.S. Click here for a refresher on the CDC’s general travel guidelines.

iHealth Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Tests

We understand that COVID-19 rapid tests are in short supply and difficult to source. Members who are seeking to purchase rapid tests should contact Denis Miciletto from Value First, LeadingAge NY’s group purchasing organization, who has access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved rapid COVID-19 antigen tests

Nursing Home and Adult Care Facility (ACF)/Assisted Living Updates

LeadingAge NY to Host Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Webinar on Dec. 21st

LeadingAge NY is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a free webinar entitled Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for COVID-19: What LTC Providers Need to Know on Tues., Dec. 21st from 1 to 2 p.m. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a potentially lifesaving treatment for COVID-19 infection and can help prevent COVID-19 in patients and residents who are exposed to the virus. The webinar will cover appropriate uses of monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19, indications and contraindications, administration routes and monitoring, and adverse events.

Presenters will include Dallas Nelson, MD, UR Medicine Geriatrics Group, President of the New York Medical Directors Association, and Nicole Halsey, RN. To register for the webinar, click here.

LeadingAge NY Reminds Members of CDC Return to Work Guidance for Health Care Workers

The CDC updated its return to work (RTW) guidance for health care personnel (HCP) on Sept. 10th. LeadingAge NY has received multiple questions surrounding RTW for employees after a potential exposure to someone with COVID-19 or after a positive COVID-19 test. Click here for a refresher on the guidelines.

Governor Extends EO on Health Care Staffing Flexibilities

Under the continued Executive Order (EO) signed by Governor Hochul on Nov. 26th, nursing homes continue to have flexibility with use of staff, as well as the role of the registered nurse (RN) in the nursing home. Click here for more information.

Could Nursing Homes, ACFs, and CCRCs Require COVID-19 Immunization as a Condition of Admission?

With the focus on ensuring the safety of residents and staff in light of rising COVID-19 cases, some members have inquired about whether they could require vaccination as a condition of admission for nursing homes and ACFs. LeadingAge NY’s counsel, Hinman Straub, provides this analysis for members.

DataPoint: Nursing Home Booster Vaccination Rates

Since the COVID-19 vaccine boosters became available in late September, the median booster vaccination rate among nursing home residents has increased to 59 percent statewide as of Nov. 30th, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH) analyzed by LeadingAge NY. During the same time, the median booster vaccination rate among direct care staff was 12 percent. Click here for more information.