On June 12, we summarized and linked to the new COVID guidance from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). We are revising our summary to emphasize that individual agencies may implement a guidance which has more restrictions due to: the number of people who are especially vulnerable or medically compromised in a congregate setting or day program; the nature of the setting may influence guidance, e.g., if a day setting was in the midst of a busy commercial area; and/or other circumstances.
The EOHHS guidance notes that “Settings should set their masking requirements according to their population.” Having said that, the guidance shifts the focus in regard to visitation, to self-screening and avoiding COVID positive visitors into the congregate setting, in which cases, some restrictions are required. It does not appear to allow restrictions based on vaccination status as reflected in this guidance excerpt: “While visitor vaccination can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, visitors should not be required to be tested or vaccinated (or show proof of such) as a condition of visitation.”
On Friday, June 10, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services released some changes regarding COVID precautions and quarantine. You can read the update here at the Commonwealth’s site.
Congregate care refers to small and large housing settings or residences. Day program changes and a comment on transportation for health appointments or day programs funded by Medicaid (HST) are noted further below. If you have questions, you can reach out to the provider of service for yourself or your family member.
From the team at The Arc of Massachusetts
Effective June 10, 2022: General quarantine is no longer required for new admissions to congregate care
Effective July 1, 2022: Updated congregate care guidance and surveillance testing guidance will go into effect:
- Masking: Masking will be optional for staff and residents of Congregate Care, except in specific circumstances outlined in the guidance. Settings should set their masking requirements according to their population.
- Screening: Screening for visitors, staff, and residents may be self-directed.
- Surveillance Testing:
- Provider-operated congregate care: Weekly testing of staff continues to be recommended but is optional.
- All congregate care sites may now choose over the counter rapid antigen tests or can continue with molecular or POC rapid testing.
Day Programs — Effective July 1, 2022: Masks will be optional for staff and participants in community day programs, with the exception of Adult Day Health and Day Habilitation, where staff will still be required to wear masks.
Lastly, masks will still be required on Human Service Transportation for both drivers and riders.