Agency Updates On Pandemic Procedures, Policy & Testing Locations
November 4, 2020
Dear Family and Friends,
We hope this letter finds you & your family in good health. As we continue to navigate through the upcoming months during this pandemic, we understand that health and safety concerns continue to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, more so now as we enter flu season.
In an effort to work together, we ask for your assistance to make sure that we are continuing to effectively ensure our individuals’ health and safety during the upcoming months while in our care. One way you can assist is for you to notify us when your individual(s) will be absent due to any illness or health concerns. This can be done by notifying Esther Caletka, Agency RN, immediately @ 315-663-7391 so that she can follow up with you to assist and provide you with helpful guidance and resources. Esther is required to be more involved in our individuals’ care during this pandemic; she is here to assist you in any way possible as well as to complete the necessary job requirements so, please be understanding, open minded and cooperative as much as possible when she reaches out to you. If your individual(s) will be out for a reason OTHER THAN ILLNESS, please continue to notify us, supervisors, transportation, etc. as you have been.
If you and/or your individual have recently traveled outside of NYS, we need to know when and where due to the travel guidance implemented by Governor Cuomo. This past weekend new guidance was given by the Governor’s office and has been updated on our web page, www.homeincorporated.org under the H.O.M.E., Inc. News tab. Given the new and constant OPWDD Regulations regarding COVID-19, we have to follow additional procedures, especially when staff has traveled outside of NYS.
As the Corporate Compliance Officer, I have additional responsibilities regarding COVID-19 and reporting procedures to OPWDD and the DOH as well as our local health department so, please be aware that we may be contacting you for future concerns, information, documentation and follow up regarding any illnesses, especially those with COVID 19-like symptoms. This is not meant to alarm you but just to inform you so that we can work as a team to better serve our individuals and ensure their health and safety, as well as your own.
We also would like for you to be understanding and cooperative with our transportation staff as they are required to follow the regulatory screening questions and take temperatures daily upon pick up. You can help the drivers by screening the individuals at least once a day and report any high fevers 99.0 – 100.0 F. prior to pick up so that our staff is aware prior to arriving to your residence. If an individuals’ temperature is 100.0 F or higher, he/she must stay home and be fever free WITHOUT fever reducing medications for 72 hours. We will assist you in monitoring him/her and follow up with you 72 hours later. I have attached some resources for you to review regarding all the above and to help answer any questions you may have. However, if you have any questions that you cannot find the answers to, please feel free to reach out to me at 315-472-5110 Ext. 338 or Esther at 315-663-7391.
I appreciate all your cooperation in this matter and hope that you and your family remain safe and healthy! Have a great day!
Corporate Compliance & Safety Officer
The following are the guidelines for handling any COVID-19 symptoms under OPWDD auspices:
-Any Individual or staff exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival to program:
· Will not be allowed to enter the program building.
· Will be required to return home until they are fever free for 72 hours WITHOUT the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g. Advil, Tylenol).
-Any Individual or staff exhibiting signs or symptoms while at Day Program:
· The individual or staff must be sent home as soon as possible.
· The program will keep sick individuals and staff separate from well individuals and staff.
· Individual/Staff sent home shall consult with their healthcare practitioner prior to returning to program.
-For any individual sent home, it is highly recommended that they contact their healthcare provider for assessment and testing. Please also be aware that the day program must immediately notify the local health and OPWDD of any suspected cases.
Please see the attached information on healthcare and testing resources.
HEALTH CARE AND TESTING RESOURCES
The FDA has approved New York State to authorize the state's 28 public and private labs to begin manual, semi-automated and automated testing for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The approval allows the state to dramatically increase testing capacity to thousands of tests per day. The approval also extends to the Roche high-volume platform for testing.
Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.
If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies including pharmacies and medical practices or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.
Your local health department is your community contact for COVID19 concerns.
New, Less Intrusive Test
New York State's Wadsworth Lab has developed a new, less intrusive test for COVID-19. The new test is done through a saliva sample and a self-administered short nasal swab in the presence of a health care professional. Additionally, health care professionals can self-administer the test without another health care professional present.
The single most important thing we can do to combat and contain the novel coronavirus is test for it. -Governor Andrew Cuomo
Information on Tests and Appointments
Onondaga County Info for Appointments: https://covid19.ongov.net/appointments/
WellNow Testing Locations:
Anyone can now get tested for COVID-19, even if you have no symptoms. Call your primary care physician or find a test site near you.
Walk-up and drive-thru testing is available without an appointment at Syracuse Community Health Center, 819 South Salina Street in Syracuse, every Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (closed 12-1 for lunch).
Symptomatic Testing for Schools
Onondaga County, Upstate Medical University, Nascentia Health, and Cayuga Health System are pleased to offer symptomatic testing for students, teachers, and school staff. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm at NBT Bank Stadium, 1 Tex Simone Drive, Syracuse Registration required for saliva-based testing Register online or call Upstate’s COVID-19 Hotline at 315.464.2582, select option #0. This will be saliva-based testing with an average turnaround time of 24-48 hours, and results will be available through an online portal.
NEW! Nasal swab tests, offered by Cayuga Health System, do not require appointments, but pre-registration is recommended.
Important information for saliva-based testing:
Do not eat or drink anything, including chewing gum, mints, or lozenges for 30 minutes prior to the test
Do not brush teeth or use mouthwash for three hours prior to the test.
Do not smoke, vape, or using smokeless tobacco products for 30 minutes prior to the test.
Drive-through sampling sites are a critical part of the Governor’s nation-leading program to test for COVID-19. These facilities reduce density and the potential for spread by keeping people who are sick or at risk of having contracted coronavirus out of healthcare facilities where they could infect other people.
The drive-through sites are prioritizing sampling for symptomatic individuals that are part of the highest risk population, those who have been in close contact with a positive case, and, as necessary, health care workers, nursing home employees and first responders on the front lines.
Testing is by appointment only. Residents who believe they have been in close contact with a case and have symptoms, and would like to be tested can be assessed by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 888-364-3065.
Individual test results are sent to the individual by phone, texted, or they can access the online patient portal at http://www.Bioreference.com.