COVID-19 Update
October 26, 2020

OPWDD Cluster Zone Strategy 
In response to localized outbreaks of COVID-19 and the Governor's "Cluster Initiative," The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) released guidance for certified programs and facilities within identified areas of concern. OPWDD also shared a summary of the guidance on Friday.

The mitigation strategies detailed in the guidance took effect on Sunday, October 25 at 3 p.m. Chapters that operate programs and facilities within these areas will be notified by OPWDD. However, we strongly encourage Chapters to be proactive in monitoring the cluster activity within and around their geographic area. Chapters may check the current status of an area here. Maps of current clusters and zone designations are available here. These maps may change frequently in response to the state's daily review of COVID-19 data. The Governor's Office also published a
guidance document detailing the micro-cluster strategy. We recommend all Chapters review this document and familiarize themselves with the state's process for identifying and updating cluster zones.

OPWDD held a meeting with the Provider Association on Saturday to offer further details and guidance. Several points of clarification were offered. We summarized these points in our meeting notes

On Sunday, OPWDD published guidance on operational steps that providers must take when a program is suspended or reducing capacity. The guidance addresses both the state's recent cluster zone initiative, and circumstances where a provider voluntarily suspends or reduces services in any geographic area. Please share this document with anyone involved in program operations.
The Arc New York held a meeting with Chapter leadership on Sunday afternoon to discuss the guidance and gather comments and questions. We are bringing this feedback to OPWDD leadership and will provide additional information as it becomes available.
As a reminder, OPWDD previously released resource materials to support providers operating programs within identified hot spots. We shared these materials in our October 6 COVID-19 Update.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any comments or questions about the guidance shared over the weekend.
CDC Updates Close Contact Definition
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the definition of "close contact." The new definition is "someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period." The definition no longer requires the contact time to be continuous. This may have an impact on the number of people considered as close contacts who are thus subject to quarantine.
Please review your infection control policies and procedures and revise the definitions as necessary. We anticipate further guidance will be forthcoming from local and state officials.

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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