COVID-19 Update
March 18, 2021
Revised Visitation Guidance for Residential Facilities
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) published revised interim visitation guidance for residential facilities. Visitation is no longer “opt-in” with an attestation to OPWDD. Under the new guidance, visitation must be allowed if a home has had no new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and no current outbreak testing. Restricting visitation is no longer allowed outside of those conditions OR unless authorized by OPWDD and/or DOH.

Bullets 4 and 5 in the revised guidance outline new conditions/considerations for visitation regarding the number of visitors per resident and length of time.

The guidance removes the following:
  • the restriction on visitation occurring anywhere outside of the home, in a non-agency vehicle or leaving the premises unmonitored by staff.
  • the requirement to notify visitors of any positive or suspected cases in the home.
  • the requirement to attest to the criteria and notify OPWDD.

Separate visitation guidance published in October still applies to Supportive IRAs. We are checking with OPWDD on their plans to address visitations in those settings.

NYC Health & Hospitals Vaccination Guidance
NYC Health & Hospitals published a very easy to read guide on COVID-19 vaccination. This guide includes information on the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, and could be very useful in informing employees and families on the facts surrounding the vaccines and their benefits.

NYSDOH Updated Travel Advisory Guidance
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) finally published updated travel advisory guidance on their website. The guidance addresses the exemptions from quarantine for asymptomatic domestic travelers who are fully vaccinated and/or have recovered from COVID-19.

OPWDD has not yet updated their guidance to reflect the DOH update. However, they are aware and are working on revisions. As the DOH guidance is now official from the authority on COVID-19 health guidance in New York, Chapters may begin to follow this guidance. Keep in mind the Governor recently announced that domestic travelers will no longer be subject to quarantine beginning April 1, 2021, regardless of vaccination status.

The updated guidance can be found here. The full travel advisory can be found here.

NYSDOH Updated Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work 
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) updated their guidance for office-based work, effective March 12, 2021.

The guidance notes that, as of May 29, 2020 business owners can deny admittance to individuals who fail to comply with the face covering/mask requirements, at their discretion. The total number of employees reporting to any particular area is still limited to no more than 50% building capacity. Employers are still strongly encouraged to use video or teleconferencing in lieu of in-person meetings whenever possible. Social distancing should be encouraged by limiting occupancy in communal areas. For employers who conduct temperature checks, the specific temperature data is not to be recorded, but employers may maintain records that indicate individuals were screened and the result of the screening (e.g., pass/fail).

There is no requirement for employers to reaffirm acknowledgement of the updated guidance. 

This afternoon, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) shared data regarding the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and deaths due to COVID-19 within the service system. 

As of March 17, 2021:
  • 10,028 people supported have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • 6,975 of these people reside in a certified residential facility. 
  • There have been 641 deaths relating to COVID-19.
  • 13,582 staff have been confirmed to have COVID-19.

OPWDD has not yet supplied more detailed data regarding COVID-19 cases by setting.  As a reminder, New York state maintains data on cases by county here.

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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