COVID-19 Briefs for April 26, 2021

Situation Report | April 26, 2021

The following are COVID-19 briefs for April 26, 2021.

Vaccination of Contract Staff in Nursing Homes and ACFs

The state Department of Health (DOH) has posted on the Health Commerce System (HCS) two Dear Administrator Letters for nursing home and adult care facility (ACF) providers on regulations for ongoing vaccination of residents and staff, including contract staff that may include individuals employed by home care providers. (HCA is confirming this applicability.)

Nursing homes and ACFs must ensure that all new personnel (including employees and contract staff) and every new or readmitted resident has an opportunity to receive the first or any required next dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within fourteen days (for nursing homes) or seven days (for ACFs) of having been hired, admitted or readmitted.

Likewise, nursing homes and ACFs must also offer consenting, unvaccinated personnel and residents an opportunity to receive their first or any required next vaccine dose within fourteen days (for nursing homes) or seven days (for ACFs) of the effective date of the regulation (i.e., by April 29, 2021).

When it comes to COVID-19 testing and other requirements, the term “contracted staff” has included home care and hospice agency staff providing services in nursing homes and ACFs. HCA has inquired with DOH whether “contracted staff” in the vaccine guidance likewise includes hospice and home care provider staff. 

Tax Credits for Paid Leave 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows small and midsize employers, and certain governmental employers, to claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19, including leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations.  

An eligible employer is any business, including a tax-exempt organization, with fewer than 500 employees. The tax credits are available to eligible employers that pay sick and family leave for leave from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. 

Infection Control Webinar for Home Care 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene presented a program on infection control in the home care setting.

See here for slides from the April 15 program on “Ensuring the Safety of Home Health Agency Staff and Their Patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

NYC Expands Walk-In Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccines

New York City recently expanded the walk-in eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines at city-run sites to those age 50 and over, plus a companion which includes a home care worker. Sites and hours of operation are here.

Additionally, there are now many available appointments across the city. Any home care workers who’ve had difficulty scheduling an appointment in the past are advised try again now at:

  • (currently about 100 sites across NYC with open appointments).
  • This site is much easier for home care agencies to make appointments on behalf of their workers; no account creation is required. Agencies should provide the appointment ID number, location, date and time if the home care worker doesn’t have access to e-mail to receive the confirmation e-mail. 

Antibody Therapy 

On April 16, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for bamlanivimab, when administered alone, due to a sustained increase in COVID-19 viral variants in the U.S. that are resistant to this antibody therapy. The FDA determined that the known and potential benefits of bamlanivimab, when administered alone, no longer outweigh the known and potential risks. 

Medicare will cover and pay for bamlanivimab, when administered alone, for dates of service from November 10, 2020 to April 16, 2021. 

The FDA indicates that alternative monoclonal antibody therapies remain appropriate to treat COVID-19 patients, and health care providers may continue using these authorized therapies when administered together: 

  • Casirivimab and imdevimab 
  • Bamlanivimab and etesevimab 

More information is here.