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Oct. 13th COVID-19 Update

New COVID-19-related updates for providers of long-term/post-acute care (LTPAC) and senior services continue to be shared on a regular basis by both state and federal authorities. The latest developments are delineated 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., Oct. 13th due to Columbus Day, is available here. In addition to updates from LeadingAge NY staff, this week’s webinar includes a presentation on COVID-19 furlough and leave rules from Paul Buehler, labor and employment associate at Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC. 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

Apply for Provider Relief Funds by Nov. 6th

We remind members that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is accepting applications for a Phase 3 General Distribution of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Provider Relief Funding (PRF) until Nov. 6th. This $20 billion distribution will target providers that have not yet received PRF funding equal to 2 percent of their annual patient revenue, behavioral health providers, and new providers that opened in January through March 2020. Any remaining funding will be distributed to applicants with COVID-19-related losses not otherwise reimbursed. Any provider that has received PRF funding or was eligible to apply for funding is eligible to apply, although whether and how much funding a provider can expect based on COVID-19 losses will not be known until all applications are considered.

The announcement is available here, and the application portal is here. HHS requests that applications be submitted as soon as possible. The application process is not very time-consuming, although all applicants are required to submit tax as well as operating revenue and expense information even if they have submitted such information for a prior PRF distribution. Application instructions are available under the heading “How to Apply for Phase 3 General Distribution” on the PRF Provider page here, and numerous questions and answers on Phase 3 Distribution eligibility and application have been added to the PRF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) compilation here. In addition, HHS has scheduled a Provider Relief Fund – Phase 3 Informational Webcast for Thurs., Oct. 15th at 3 p.m. The registration link is here.

Please note that the first round of nursing home infection control incentive payments is expected to be made in October based on September performance. Information on which providers will be receiving funding is not yet available.

County Positivity Rates

A listing of 14-day testing positivity rates for each county in New York State from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is available here. Current daily county-level data for New York State are here, and ZIP code-level data for New York City (NYC) showing infection rates during the most recent four weeks are available here.

Governor Establishes COVID-19 Cluster Action Initiative

Last week, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order (EO) 202.68 establishing an initiative to address COVID-19 hot spots that have cropped up in Brooklyn, Queens, and Broome, Orange, and Rockland counties. Working with the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State has established new rules and restrictions directly targeted to areas with the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases and the surrounding communities. The goal is to institute concentrated controls on the outbreak areas to prevent community spread. The restrictive zones will be in effect for a minimum of 14 days. The EO went into effect on Thurs., Oct. 8th, with enforcement starting on Fri., Oct. 9th.

Members should know that the zone restrictions are not linked and do not affect long term care facilitiestheir testing and visitation requirements, or other aspects of operation. If the Governor's Office or Department of Health (DOH) changes this in any way, LeadingAge NY will be sure to keep members informed.

The initiative currently applies to clusters in the following areas:

  • Broome County (One Area, Yellow) – Click Here for Map 
  • Brooklyn (One Area; Red, Orange, and Yellow) – Click Here for Map 
  • Orange County (One Area, Red and Yellow) – Click Here for Map
  • Queens (Two Areas; Red, Orange, and Yellow) – Click Here and Here for Maps 
  • Rockland County (One Area, Red and Yellow) – Click Here for Map 

The initiative will divide clusters and the areas around them into three categories, with successively higher restrictions within each one:

Red Zone – Cluster Itself

  • Houses of Worship: 25 percent capacity, 10 people maximum 
  • Mass Gatherings: Prohibited 
  • Businesses: Only essential businesses open
  • Dining: Takeout only
  • Schools: Closed, remote only

Orange Zone – Warning Zone

  • Houses of Worship: 33 percent capacity, 25 people maximum 
  • Mass Gatherings: 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: High-risk non-essential businesses, such as gyms and personal care, closed
  • Dining: Outdoor dining only, four-person maximum per table
  • Schools: Closed, remote only

Yellow Zone – Precautionary Zone

  • Houses of Worship: 50 percent capacity 
  • Mass Gatherings: 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Open
  • Dining: Indoor and outdoor dining, four-person maximum per table
  • Schools: Open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings. DOH will establish a percentage of teachers and students/staff who need to be tested by Fri., Oct. 16th.

At the onset of the initiative, the top 20 ZIP codes of concern showed an average positivity rate of roughly 6.13 percent. As of Oct. 12th, that number is down to 3.7 percent.

Governor Cuomo also announced that fines for the sponsors of mass gatherings in violation of State public health rules will be increased to $15,000.

Members should let us know if they have questions or concerns.

New York Updates Travel Advisory List

LeadingAge NY has been tracking the COVID-19 Travel Advisory requiring people to quarantine if traveling to New York from certain states, with certain conditional exceptions for essential workers. On Oct. 13th, the Governor announced that Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia have been added, while no states or territories have been removed. Click here for more information and an archived list of states as they have been added or removed.

Helping Residents to Exercise Their Right to Vote During a Pandemic

With the presidential election just three weeks away, long-term care and senior housing providers are receiving requests from residents and patients for assistance with requesting, marking, mailing, and delivering ballots. LeadingAge NY members are reminded that any voting assistance provided to residents and patients should be coordinated with their local boards of elections in order to ensure compliance with election laws. Click here for more information.

NYC DOHMH to Hold COVID-19 Update Webinar for NYC Health Care Providers on Oct. 16th

LeadingAge NY members are invited to join the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) for a webinar providing updates on the COVID-19 emergency on Fri., Oct. 16th from 1 to 2 p.m. Click here for more information and here to register. Recordings and slides from previous NYC DOHMH webinars can also be accessed here.

Affordable Housing Updates

HUD Permits Alternatives to Resident Meetings for RAD

On Sept. 18th, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Multifamily Housing issued a joint notice with the HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing permitting pandemic-safe alternatives to group resident meetings for communities undergoing a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion. Click here for more information from LeadingAge National.