COVID-19 Update
September 17, 2020

NYS Travel Advisory Update
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced the removal of six states from the travel advisory. California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, and Ohio have been removed. Puerto Rico now meets the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory. Chapters should continue to review the list and advise employees of the current designated states. The current list can be found here

OPWDD Interim Guidance for Non-Emergency Site Visits of Certified Facilities
On Tuesday, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) published "Interim Guidance for Non-Emergency Site Visits of Certified Facilities." 

The document establishes guidelines for employees of outside vendors and agencies who need to access a certified facility for non-emergency activity. Chapters may need to modify existing policy and procedure to comply with the guidelines. The new guidelines will need to be communicated to any vendors who send employees to a certified facility. 

Chapters should ensure that when notifying outside employees of any positive or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the premises, that no Protected Health Information (PHI) is shared. This would not apply to OPWDD survey teams who have the authority to access the records and information of the individuals supported at the certified facilities.

Please review the guidance closely and reach out if there are any questions.

OPWDD FAQs on Post Day Service Retainer Program Flexibilities
Today OPWDD published a Frequently Asked Questions document from their August 25, 2020 webinar. A recording of the "Post Day Service Retainer Program Flexibilities for Day Habilitation & Site Based Prevocational Providers" webinar can be viewed here

New Study Released by Lerner Institute Based on COVID-19 Impact Survey Data 
The Lerner Institute Center for Aging and Policy Studies released a new study Wednesday based on the COVID-19 data collected by The Arc New York and New York Disability Advocates. The study explores trends in case rates over time and identifies a disproportionately high COVID-19 case rates for adults with I/DD at the onset of the pandemic compared to New York State's population as a whole. Despite a recent balance in the trends for individuals with I/DD and adults in New York overall, case fatalities for individuals with I/DD remain persistently higher.
Author Scott Landes notes the historic and ongoing disparity in prioritization of health care for adults with I/DD and posits that this disparity may have resulted in the disproportionately high COVID-19 case rates for the I/DD population. This is the second study released by the authors on this subject. The initial study, also drawn from our survey data, identified the significantly higher case and fatality rates among people with I/DD served in residential settings and asserted that providers are under-resourced to appropriately support this high-risk population. 
Your participation in our weekly COVID-19 impact surveys is essential for this important research, and for the credibility and power that reliable data brings to our advocacy efforts. Thank you for your participation in our data project to date and moving forward as we work to keep the people we support healthy and safe. 

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

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