COVID-19 Update
March 22, 2021
Expanded Options for Vaccination of People with Comorbidities
Governor Cuomo announced that New Yorkers with comorbidities can now be vaccinated by pharmacies. Previously, pharmacies were directed to vaccinate only people over age 60, teachers and school facility employees. This change opens up additional vaccination opportunities for the people we support and our staff. The directive took effect March 17, although the official announcement came just yesterday. NYSDOH issued updated guidance reflecting this change.

Expanded Age for Vaccine Eligibility
Governor Cuomo announced that people age 50 and over will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination beginning Tuesday, March 23. We will provide additional details as the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) updates their prioritization guidance.

CDC Guidance on School Operation - 3ft Social Distancing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance for K-12 schools. The most notable change is the reduction in social distancing requirements from 6 to 3 feet under certain conditions. Three-foot social distancing may be implemented depending on the current level of community transmission, in conjunction with cohorting of students. Please see the "Prevention Strategies by Level of Community Transmission" (Table 2 under Phased Prevention) for further details. We have raised this new guidance to OPWDD leadership as we discuss potential approaches to reopening/resuming day services.

OPWDD WebEx on Appendix K Extension
OPWDD published a recording of their March 12, 2020 WebEx on the extended OPWDD Appendix K flexibilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recorded presentation can be viewed here. OPWDD intends to release an associated FAQ on the flexibilities. We will share additional information as it becomes available. 

OPWDD COVID-19 Vaccination Online Training
OPWDD posted an online training titled, “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” to their Statewide Learning Management System (SLMS). The training addresses facts about COVID-19 and vaccination, vaccine safety, and what to expect before, during and after vaccination. This training is intended for clinicians, managers, and supervisors. To access the training, please register at the SLMS site. The class code is: OPWDD-EL-COVID19Vaccine. The training PowerPoint can be found here for reference.

NYSDOH Guidance for Workers and Health Care Providers Post COVID-19 Vaccine
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued two decision-tree documents addressing employees who are symptomatic after COVID-19 vaccination. The first document addresses Health Care Providers, and may be applicable to some of the licensed employees in Chapter clinics. The second document addresses general employees. Please keep in mind that “furlough” in these documents does not mean that an employee must be placed under a form of quarantine. Quarantine decisions should still be made after consultation with the local health department. 

This and all related updates will be cataloged on The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
CONTACT: Josh Christiana, Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations
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