COVID-19 Updates for June 29, 2020

Travel Restrictions and Exemptions for Essential Workers

On June 24, Gov. Cuomo and the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut announced a joint travel advisory under which all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

This quarantine, effective June 25, applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10 percent test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. New York will announce the impacted states on a weekly basis.

The state Department of Health (DOH) has clarified that there are limited exceptions for essential workers, including health care personnel.

On a June 26 call with DOH, associations representing home care, hospice and long-term care requested additional clarification on the treatment of health care workers who travel to one of these states and then return to New York.

Also on June 26, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.45 which clarifies that employees voluntarily traveling to COVID-19 hotspots after June 25 and who then become quarantined due to COVID-19 will not be eligible for New York State emergency paid sick leave.

The impacted states are listed here.

NYS Paid Sick Leave

The state Department of Health and Department of Labor have issued joint guidance on the application of COVID-19 sick leave for health care employees. It covers health care employees who return to work following a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation and who subsequently receive a positive COVID-19 test result. It states that a health care employee cannot qualify for sick leave under New York’s COVID-19 sick leave law for more than three orders of quarantine or isolation.

CDC Guidance for Individuals at Home with Pets

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted an updated “Interim Guidance for Public Health Professionals Managing People With COVID-19 in Home Care and Isolation Who Have Pets or Other Animals.” The intent of this guidance is to facilitate preparedness and establish practices that can help people and animals stay safe and healthy.

US DOL Online Tool

The U.S. Department of Labor has launched an interactive online tool to help workers determine if they qualify for paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave to cover time away from work for reasons related to the coronavirus.

The tool guides workers through a series of questions to help them determine if the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act apply to their employer. If the provisions do apply, the tool helps them learn whether they qualify for either paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave under that law.

GAO Report

The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report, “Covid-19: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts.”

OIG’s Updated Work Plan Includes Look at States’ Telehealth Expansion

The federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) has posted an updated work plan that mentions state Medicaid telehealth expansions as a subject for review.

As a result of COVID-19, state Medicaid programs have expanded options for telehealth services. According to OIG, “rapid expansion of telehealth may pose challenges for state agencies and providers, including state oversight of these services.” OIG goes on to note its objective “to determine whether state agencies and providers complied with federal and state requirements for telehealth services under the national emergency declaration, and whether the states gave providers adequate guidance on telehealth requirements.”