COVID-19 Update
June 17, 2020

OPWDD Commissioner Kastner/The Arc New York Webinar on COVID Data 
This morning Commissioner Kastner and The Arc New York State Office staff presented a webinar on COVID metrics, along with some additional discussion about forthcoming visitation guidance. The slide deck and a recording of the presentation are available for reference. 
Forthcoming OPWDD Visitation Guidance 
On a call with The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) today, OPWDD leadership discussed the content of forthcoming visitation guidance. This guidance is subject to change pending final approval by the Governor, but is anticipated to include the following:
  • Group home visitation will resume Friday, June 19. 
  • The release of OPWDD visitation guidance is imminent. OPWDD had hoped to have it today, but expects it will be available within the next 24 hours. 
  • Visitation is subject to providers and programs "opting" in. 
  • Visitation allowance is not mandated or required. You can also select certain sites to participate. It is not an all or nothing decision.
  • The visitation program is intended to be rolled out statewide to as many sites as providers choose to enroll in the visitation program.
  • Providers and their programs must attest to following COVID-19 precautions and infection control requirements for all locations opting into visitation program.
  • Guidance will rescind previous visitation restrictions issued in March 2020.
  • The list of precautions includes the following expectations:
    • Visits should be scheduled ahead of time, and staggered to maintain safety
    • Attest to cleaning and disinfection
    • Ensure PPE use to best of ability
    • Visitors should be 18+ or older for health reasons when possible
    • Health and symptom checks prior to entering for visits
    • Language around washing hands and hand sanitizer, etc.
    • Encourage outdoor visits when possible
    • No visits offsite
    • Visit in single bedrooms when possible
  • Who gets to visit:
    • Individuals under precautionary or mandatory quarantine, or with confirmed COVID-19 cannot have visitors
    • Others in same home as above individuals may still have visitors but guests must be informed of COVID status at home
    • Daily log of who, where, when visit occurred
  • Attestation must be completed with sites listed. This attestation must be returned to OPWDD, and is a one-time requirement, unless you add or remove programs.
  • Visitation program will continue for several weeks and will be reassessed.
We will share further guidance as soon as the document becomes available.

Department of Health Hospital Visitation Program Expanded
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued updated information on their hospital visitation program. Effective June 19, statewide visitation to all general hospitals will be permitted. Hospitals may opt in to the expanded program and update their policies to include the new visitation parameters. Chapters should be aware that the May 20 guidance that allows support staff to be present with an individual with I/DD remains in effect. 

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 
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