I am pleased to share that as a result of your partnership and advocacy, updated guidance has been received for OPWDD-certified programs. This eases restrictions related to community outings, home visits, and returning to a certified residence after an extended stay.
The new guidance is effective Wednesday, July 15, 2020. We are working diligently with our colleagues to develop detailed guidelines including all of the required elements. This information will be forthcoming shortly. In the meantime, I would like to share a summary of updates so that you know what to expect as we move forward.
The suspension of community outings has been rescinded and replaced with interim restrictions. The restrictions are very detailed and include rules on safe transportation including vehicle capacity, ventilation, use of masks and cleaning. A summary of restrictions includes:
- A 14-day suspension of outings when the person has Covid-19 or has been exposed to someone with confirmed/suspected Covid-19.
- Outings should be limited to outdoor activity venues (i.e., parks, pools, beaches); outings to stores, malls, restaurants and salons should be extremely limited.
- Outings should be limited to one location per day.
- Mask rules for the state must be followed as tolerated.
- Documentation of all outing dates, times, locations must be maintained by the program for the purposes of contact tracing.
- Full Guidance can be found here: https://opwdd.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/07/7.10.2020-opwdd_covid19_communityoutings-final_1.pdf
The suspension of home visits has been replaced with interim requirements for participating in home visits. A summary of the changes are as follows:
- Outings occurring during home visits should adhere to the above guidance for community outings and the person supported must pass a health screening prior to departure.
- Visits to family homes may not occur when there is a quarantine or isolation order in place due to Covid-19 illness or exposure and must not be occur at a home where a person has Covid-19 or has been exposed to a person with Covid-19.
- Documentation is required to be completed at the beginning of the visit, throughout the visit, and at the end of the visit via a form that will be provided to you detailing time frames and location of the visit, names and contact information of people who participated in the visit (i.e., siblings, cousins) and any locations visited while on a home visit. The requirements aim to mitigate risk and allow for appropriate contact tracing in the event that a person becomes ill.
- Full Guidance can be found here: https://opwdd.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/07/7.10.2020-opwdd_covid19_homevisits-doh-final.pdf
Return to a Certified Residence From an Extended Stay
People who chose to stay with family for an extended stay at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic are now permitted to return to their certified programs if the following conditions are met:
- The residence must not have any known or suspected cases of Covid-19 for 14 days prior to the anticipated return.
- The person returning must not have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or had any symptoms of Covid-19 and may not have knowingly been exposed to a person who has Covid-19 or had symptoms of Covid-19 within 14 days of their anticipated return, the person and/or family will be required to attest to such in writing.
- The person returning will be screened for symptoms and temperature and may be placed in precautionary quarantine upon return based on findings and consultation with the local health department.
- Full Guidance can be found here: https://opwdd.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/07/7.10.2020-opwdd_covid19_returntohomeextendedstay-final_0.pdf
We do expect that this information will evolve as we receive guidance from OPWDD and other regulatory agencies. I remain committed to communicating with you in a transparent and expeditious manner as new information becomes available. I appreciate your partnership and adherence to these new requirements as we move forward as a community.
Be safe and well,