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COVID-19 Briefs for April 19, 2021

The following are COVID-19 Briefs for April 19, 2021. 

Travel Guidance: The state Department of Health (DOH) has posted Updated Interim Guidance for Travelers Arriving in NYS (April 10, 2021).

For domestic travel, there are generally no quarantine, work furlough, or testing requirements for asymptomatic domestic travelers. Exceptions include:

  • Unvaccinated health care personnel who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months and who work in nursing homes, enhanced assisted living residences (EALRs) or assisted living programs (ALPs) must furlough for 14 days after arrival in New York, consistent with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe disease for 14 days after travel.
  • All unvaccinated domestic travelers who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months are recommended to get tested three to five days after arrival in New York, consider non-mandated self-quarantine (seven days if tested on day three to five, or otherwise 10 days), and avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe disease for 14 days, regardless of test result.

The guidance also discusses rules for international travel.

CDC Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators, noting that the supply and availability of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved respirators have increased significantly over the last several months.

For contingency capacity strategies, the CDC has:

  • Added a strategy to prioritize respirators for healthcare personnel (HCP) who are using them as personal protective equipment (PPE) over those HCP who are only using them for source control.
  • For extended use of N95 respirators as PPE, clarified that N95 respirators should be discarded immediately after being removed.

For crisis capacity strategies, the CDC has:

  • Removed the strategy of using non-NIOSH approved respirators developed by manufacturers who are not NIOSH-approval holders.
  • Highlighted that the number of reuses should be limited to no more than five uses (five donnings) per device by the same HCP to ensure an adequate respirator performance.
  • Removed decontamination of respirators as a strategy with limited re-use.
  • Emphasized that facemasks for caring for a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection should only be used for certain scenarios as a last resort if respirators are severely limited.

HHS Vaccine Access Resources

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published several new resources to help states, vaccination providers, and others leading COVID-19 response activities improve access to vaccines for people with disabilities and older adults.

These include:

OIG Updates Work Plan

The federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) has updated its Work Plan for April. It will examine state and federal experiences using Immunization Information Systems to collect, share, and monitor data on COVID-19 vaccinations, and identify lessons learned that can improve vaccination data and monitoring for future mass vaccination campaigns as well as routine vaccination programs.