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Monkeypox Updates and Resources

The State has taken certain actions regarding the Monkeypox virus. This article provides an update, with implications for the provider community and important resources.

Webinar for Health Care Providers on Thurs., Aug. 4th

New York City and New York State together will provide an update on Monkeypox for health care providers on Thurs., Aug. 4th from 12 to 12:30 p.m. To participate, simply click this link at the time of the event.

EO Declaring Monkeypox Disaster

On July 29th, Governor Hochul issued Executive Order (EO) 20 declaring a disaster in the state. The declaration relates to Monkeypox, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on July 23rd. The EO is in effect until Aug. 28th.

According to the EO, New York is now experiencing one of the highest rates of transmission in the country, with 1,383 cases reported as of July 29th. This declaration helps to mobilize resources to support local health departments’ response through investigation support, contact identification and monitoring, vaccine administration for exposed contacts and focused current high-risk populations, and education and outreach. The EO also allows the following flexibility:

  • Emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, advanced emergency medical services (EMS) providers providing community paramedicine, midwives, and pharmacists can administer the Monkeypox vaccine with non-patient-specific order;
  • Nurse practitioners and physicians may issue a non-patient-specific regimen for nurses and other qualified individuals to vaccinate;
  • Suspends the requirement for any vaccinated person age 19 or older to consent to reporting the vaccination to the state and city immunization registries (the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) and the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR)) and requires reporting of vaccination in NYSIIS/CIR within 72 hours.

Implications for the HERO Act?

Members have inquired about implications for the NY HERO Act, which is intended to protect employees against exposure and disease during a future airborne infectious disease outbreak. In early June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Monkeypox was not an airborne infectious disease, but they are still doing research on transmission. This CDC website provides information about how the virus is transmitted, signs and symptoms, case prevalence, and other resources. At the time of this writing, the HERO Act website further supports that this recent declaration has not triggered requirements for a workforce safety plan to be implemented:

On March 17, 2022, the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under the HERO Act ended. Private sector employers are no longer required to implement their workforce safety plans.

As a reminder, the second element of the HERO Act, which requires private employers with 10 or more employees to allow employees to establish and administer a joint labor-management workplace safety committee at each worksite, continues to be in effect. This aspect of the HERO Act also applies to nursing homes and certain other health care providers who were exempt from the first element of the HERO Act because they were covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).

For background on the HERO Act, click here.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828