COVID-19 Update
October 14, 2020

Hold Harmless Advocacy Letter to Governor Cuomo
Last week, agencies from across New York state joined together to send a letter to Governor Cuomo in response to the rate reduction and budget cuts that took effect October 1, 2020. The Arc New York and many Arc Chapters signed on to the letter. 

These actions of the state have negatively impacted our field though a reduction in reimbursement of retainer and therapeutic leave days, elimination of the occupancy adjustments and a 20% withhold of non-Medicaid State-only funding. This letter urges the Governor to hold our field harmless from the current and future cuts.
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 October 7, 2020:
  • 3,602 individuals supported have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • 2,880 of these cases involve individuals residing in certified residential facilities.
  • There have been 471 deaths relating to COVID-19.
  • 4,448 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.

NYS Travel Advisory Update
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced the addition of Ohio, Michigan and Virginia to the travel advisory. No locations were removed from the list. Chapters should continue to review the list and advise employees of the current designated states. The current list can be found here.

NYSDOH "Yellow Zone" Testing in Public and Non-Public Schools

The guidance directs the testing of 20% of in-person students, teachers and staff, at least once a week for schools open to in-person instruction in a designated yellow zone. The requirement for weekly testing took effect on Friday, October 16. 

Additional information about the New York State "Cluster Initiative," as well as the locations of the zones can be found here.

OSHA Reporting of Work-Related Cases of Coronavirus
On September 30, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an update to their frequently asked questions (FAQs). Details about the update are found in their national news release.

The focus of the update is on work-related Coronavirus hospitalizations and fatalities. A work-related incident involving Coronavirus is defined as "an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace." Exposure that results in hospitalization within 24 hours of exposure must be reported to OSHA. However, OSHA has addressed the possibility that an employer may not immediately become aware of such an incident. Employers are required to notify OSHA within 24 hours of learning of the hospitalization and determining that it was a result of a work-related case of COVID-19.

Reporting can be completed by:
  • calling the nearest OSHA office,
  • calling the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or
  • reporting online. 
OSHA will request the Chapter name, name(s) of employee(s) affected, location and time of the incident, a brief description of the incident, and a contact person and phone number.
Additional information on reporting to OSHA can be found here

Senator Gillibrand HCBS Response Letter
As a result of outreach and advocacy through various campaigns, including efforts by The Arc New York, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) provided a response regarding Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and Direct Support Professionals (DSP). The letter contains federal actions and proposals supported by Senator Gillibrand that are important to the I/DD field. 

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.

Josh Christiana, Associate Executive Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations

This email was sent to:
  • President Jack Kowalczyk 
  • Board of Governors 
  • Chapter Presidents
  • Executive Directors 
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers  
  • HR Directors 
  • PR Directors 
  • Quality & Compliance Staff 
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance 
  • Guardianship Coordinators 
  • State Office Staff