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March 2nd 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 March 1st, is available here. If you have questions for next week’s update, please send them to Ami Schnauber, and be sure to check your email for the access information, or contact Jeff Diamond.

Cross-Sector Updates

COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall for Frontline Care Workers

LeadingAge National, in partnership with the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC), is sponsoring a national town hall with the aging services community to address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly among direct care workers. The town hall, which will be open to everyone, will be held on Thurs., March 4th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. It will be broadcast by blackdoctor.org through its Facebook Live and YouTube streaming services. A link to these sites will be available later this week. The agenda will feature LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan as well as senior leadership from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Historically Black College and University (HBCU) medical schools (Meharry and Morehouse), the National Black Nurses Association, and a variety of nationally recognized experts.

CDC Provides Clinical Call on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine was authorized this weekend by the CDC. On March 2nd, the CDC provided a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call on the clinical considerations of the new vaccine. Click here for more information.

State Issues Updated Vaccine Prioritization Guidance

On March 1st, the State issued updated vaccine prioritization guidance indicating that as of Week 12, public-facing hotel workers are eligible at State mass vaccination sites and may be eligible for vaccination at local health departments (LHDs). Nursing homes outside of New York City (NYC) obtaining vaccine supply from their LHD should refer to this updated guidance for participation as vaccinators in the State Vaccine Provider Program.

EO 202 Extended

Members should note that Executive Order (EO) 202.96, issued on Feb. 26th, extends all requirements and flexibilities set forth in EO 202 relevant to long term care providers. The new EO expires March 28th.

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

CMP Funds Available to Nursing Homes

On Feb. 24th, the Department of Health (DOH) issued Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) NH 21-05 announcing the availability of Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) funds for the purchase of tents for outdoor visitation and/or clear dividers to create physical barriers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during in-person visits. The deadline for nursing homes to apply for this funding is 3 p.m. tomorrow, Wed., March 3rd. Click here for more information.

State Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Process for Nursing Homes

Last week, DOH announced a new process for nursing homes outside of NYC to access COVID-19 vaccines through their LHD. A separate City-led process is in place for NYC nursing homes. Click here for more information.

NYC DOHMH Releases Plan for Vaccinations in Nursing Homes

On Feb. 23rd, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) held a webinar to go over post-federal Pharmacy Partnership options for NYC nursing homes. Click here for more information.

Webinars for NYC Providers Regarding COVID-19 and FEPA

NYC DOHMH is holding two webinars this week that may be of interest to members. In addition, a recording of the Feb. 24th webinar regarding the Facility Evacuation Planning Application (FEPA) requirements for NYC nursing homes and ACFs is now available. Click here for more information.

Local Positivity Rates

A document showing the most recent 14-day test positivity rates for each county in New York State based on both federal and state figures is available here. The test positivity rates remained fairly stable from last week, although 24 counties remain above 5 percent based on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) figures. Nursing homes across the state are still required to test staff twice per week, and updated visitation guidance dated Feb. 23rd requires homes to consult the federal positivity rates to guide their approach to visitor testing.

  • Homes in counties where the positivity rate is below 5 percent are encouraged but not required to test visitors.
  • Homes in counties where positivity rates are between 5 and 10 percent are required to have visitors present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours or can offer visitors a rapid test on site. Alternatively, visitors in such counties may provide proof of having completed the COVID-19 vaccination series no less than 14 days prior to the date of the visit but also within 90 days of the last vaccination (although testing is still recommended, and facilities may choose to require testing for all visitors).
  • For homes located in counties where positivity rates exceed 10 percent, visitation is limited to compassionate care.

Current daily county-level data for New York State are here, and ZIP code-level data for NYC showing infection rates during the most recent four weeks are available here. Metrics related to the State’s micro-cluster initiative are available here, and links to updated cluster maps and the address look-up tool are here.

Affordable Housing/Independent Living Updates

Eviction Moratorium Continues Despite Ruling

On Feb. 25th, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the CDC’s nationwide moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. The ruling does not include an injunction; the moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent remains in effect. However, the decision will bring additional confusion to renters and landlords alike on the issue. Click here for more information from LeadingAge National.