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Sept. 7th 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 described below.

As a reminder, LeadingAge NY continues to convene weekly webinars on Mondays at 11 a.m. to address emerging questions on COVID-19. Please note that due to Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah, this week’s update will be held on Thurs., Sept. 9th at 11 a.m. If you have any questions that you would like LeadingAge NY staff to address, please send them to Ami Schnauber, and be sure to check your email for the access information, or contact Jeff Diamond.

Cross-Sector Updates

State Designates COVID-19 a Highly Contagious Communicable Disease Under HERO Act

On Sept. 6th, Governor Hochul announced that the Commissioner of Health has designated COVID-19 a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act, which requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans in the event of an airborne infectious disease, helping to prevent workplace infections. The New York HERO Act mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the law, all employers are required to adopt a workplace safety plan and implement it for all airborne infectious diseases designated by the Department of Health (DOH). Employers can adopt a model safety plan as crafted by the Department of Labor (DOL) or develop their own safety plan in compliance with HERO Act standards.

In settings where the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) does not apply, providers must follow the New York HERO Act. More information on the HERO Act and its requirements is available here, and more information on the OSHA ETS is here. LeadingAge NY’s counsel, Hinman Straub, will be preparing a memo providing more information for members shortly.

Urge Elected Officials and DOH to Reconsider COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

If not for the chronic staffing shortages facing long term care providers, LeadingAge NY would wholeheartedly endorse a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. However, our members are confronting the most challenging workforce shortages in memory, and this mandate is expected to result in avoidable staff departures and additional obstacles in quality staff recruitment and retention. Members are encouraged to contact their lawmakers and DOH here, urging them to reconsider the proposed emergency regulation mandating COVID-19 vaccination of health care personnel. The State must do more to support the recruitment and retention of staff by long term care and post-acute providers. It cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the needs of vulnerable older adults and the staffing needs of facilities, programs, and home care agencies.

Thank you in advance for your advocacy.

CDC Issues Updated Guidance Regarding Timing of Tuberculosis Testing and COVID-19 Vaccination

When hiring new staff, some providers have struggled with the timing recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccine and personnel testing for tuberculosis (TB). LeadingAge NY is pleased to report that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is no longer recommending a delay in TB testing if a COVID-19 vaccine has been administered. Click here for more information.

CDC to Hold COCA Call on 2021-22 Influenza Vaccination Recommendations and Guidance on Coadministration with COVID-19 Vaccines

The CDC will hold a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Call on the 2021-22 Influenza Vaccination Recommendations and Guidance on Coadministration with COVID-19 Vaccines on Thurs., Sept. 9th from 2 to 3 p.m. ET. Presenters will include Captain Lisa Grohskopf, MD, MPH, and Andrew Kroger, MD, MPH, both of the CDC, who will present the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations on flu for the coming season and on coadministration of flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

More details and the link to register are available here.