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Jan. 18th 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 outlined 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 Tues., Jan. 18th due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 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

Supreme Court Issues Decisions on CMS and OSHA Vaccine Mandates

On Jan. 13th, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decisions on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The CMS mandate will be allowed to proceed nationwide, but the OSHA ETS has been blocked. Click here for more information.

State Issues Updated Vaccination Guidance

Members should take note of the new State vaccination guidance issued on Jan. 17th. It includes provisions indicating that those who have received an incomplete vaccination series approved by the World Health Organization, but not approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), no longer have to restart their series. Individuals should undergo vaccination with a single dose of Pfizer at least 28 days after their most recent vaccine dose. The guidance provides additional detail on different scenarios involving vaccination brands used outside of the U.S.

The State also issued updated screening and checklist documents for providers, which can be found here.

DOH Issues Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidance

On Jan. 14th, the Department of Health (DOH) issued updated isolation and quarantine guidance that supersedes the return to work guidance issued on Dec. 24th, which was generally for all essential workers, including social services workers, and those working in residential settings. Therefore, the Jan. 14th guidance will apply to housing, social adult day, and other unlicensed services that provide supportive essential services. The guidance also serves as the isolation and quarantine guidance for the general public. Click here for more information.

Nursing Home Updates

DOH Provides Update on Nursing Home Visitor Testing Requirements

On Jan. 14th, LeadingAge NY participated in a brief call with DOH staff to discuss the nursing home visitor testing requirements set forth in a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) issued on Jan. 12th. We submitted the questions that members raised prior to the call, and we emphasized the staffing crisis that members all are experiencing and the operational challenges these requirements present. The DOH staff were sympathetic to our concerns and said that they want to work collaboratively to identify solutions. Click here for more highlights from the call.

Affordable Housing/Independent Living Updates

HUD, HHS Working to Expand Access to Test Kits for Housing Communities

LeadingAge National has announced that federal agencies will intensify efforts to increase access to COVID-19 test kits for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-assisted housing communities from Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). LeadingAge encourages providers to contact their community health centers for test kits and then fill out a quick anonymous survey about their experience. They will use the results to help the overseeing federal agencies foster better partnerships between the community health centers and HUD communities. More information is available from LeadingAge National here.

Beginning Jan. 19th, residents, staff, and their families can also visit COVIDTests.gov to request four tests per household in the mail or to find other testing resources.