STEPS NEWS & BLOG

Senior Reopening Safety: Westchester, Fairfield & Nassau County

11 Jun Senior Reopening Safety: Westchester, Fairfield & Nassau County

Over 100 days ago New York state confirmed their first case of coronavirus and life forever changed as we knew it. This week, New York and Connecticut are cautiously emerging from the pandemic and social distancing. 

  • New York City entered Phase 1 on Monday, June 8 

  • New York 's Mid-Hudson region including Westchester entered Phase 2 on Tuesday, June 9

  • Long Island entered Phase 2 on Wednesday, June 10

  • Connecticut State enters Phase 2 on June 17

    What does this mean for elderly residents in Westchester, Fairfield County and Nassau County?

    While we are excited to get our lives back to normal, emerge from our homes, socialize with friends and get the economy going, we still collectively need to be considerate about keeping seniors safe as they are vulnerable to the virus. In addition, we need to remember that the Phases of transition will be hardest for seniors and immunocompromised residents  as they will most likely need to continue to stay at home and avoid contact with others during the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and then limited integration during Phase 3. 

    The bottom line is that if you are a senior over 65 years old or someone with underlying medical issues you may be best protected by playing it safe and assuming you are personally in a Phase 1 until a vaccination can be produced.

    How Can Counting 1-2-3 Be So Confusing?

    While you may be familiar with the White House Coronavirus Task Force Guidelines for Americans on the postcard you put on your refrigerator, our government has also drafted an official “Opening Up America Again Plan” a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.  However, each state is navigating this on their own terms and in late April, Governor Cuomo announced his own “New York Forward” initiative which includes a four-part phased approach to reopen New York industries and businesses by region based upon specific coronavirus health metrics.  The state has indicated that at least two weeks (14 days) must pass between the start of Phase 1 before progressing to Phase 2 and so forth.  

    Opening Up America Phase 1

    For most New Yorkers, life in Phase 1 will look a lot like it has over the last few months of social isolation, especially for older adults and people with underlying health conditions who are at high risk of complications, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

    It’s okay to go outside and walk around the neighborhood, a wooded trail, an uncrowded beach, but it’s not a good idea to get together in person with others just yet even if hte guidelines allow for it.  I know it’s been so hard on our seniors in isolation and it hasn’t gotten any easier. However, we’ve gotten better at practicing every day precautions as a way to lower risk,” said Barbara Moran, RN, Director of STEPS Home Care Patient Services.

    Opening Up America Again Guidelines

    Phase 1

    ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.

    All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.

    Avoid SOCIALIZING in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing (e.g., receptions, trade shows)

    MINIMIZE NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.

    Larger venues, such as movie theaters, churches, gyms and some dine-in restaurants, can reopen in phase 1 of the administration’s guidelines, but under strict physical distancing protocols. Elective surgeries also may resume at outpatient facilities that adhere to federal guidelines.

    New York Phase 1 

    Construction, agricultural, landscaping, manufacturing, and wholesale supply chain businesses to reopen, as well as many retailers providing curbside or in-store pickup.  

    According to Susan Keating, CMC, an Aging Life Care Professional with Honora Care Management & Consulting in Westchester, “Social isolation while necessary has been challenging. Getting out for change of scenery feels inviting, gives us all a sense of a return to “normal.” We need to all remember, while the curve has flattened, and for the moment high demands on emergency services and hospital beds have lessened, the virus has not gone away. Older adults remain the most vulnerable to the virus and we advise keeping this front and center in decision making. Before venturing out to a business, even to family and friends, do everything you can to minimize risk.”

    Opening Up America Again Guidelines

    Phase 2

    ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.

    All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 50 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.

    NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL can resume.

    Phase 2 would, among other things, allow schools to reopen and nonessential travel to resume. Open for business in Phase 2 are law firms, real estate companies, commercial building management, and government offices, hair salons and barbershops.

    New York Phase 2

    A wide range of businesses to reopen, including most office-based businesses, administrative services, commercial building management, real estate services, and repair and cleaning services.  

    Connecticut Phase 2

    Restaurants can have a maximum indoor capacity of 50 percent of its regular indoor dining capacity. Restaurants are encouraged to continue using outdoor dining as long as the restaurant does not exceed its regular operating capacity and physical distancing can still be maintained, according to the rules outlined by Governor Lamont.

    Included in the guidance for sports, sports clubs and complexes, gyms, fitness centers and pools, is a capacity limit of 50 percent that must be enforced.

    Opening Up America Again Guidelines

    Phase 3

    If there’s still no resurgence in cases, phase 3 would pave the way for older and high-risk people to venture out in public with precautions, workplaces to reopen fully and visits to hospitals and senior care facilities to resume.

    New York Phase 3

    Phase 3 allows restaurants and food services to reopen. The state has not issued guidance for Phase 3 businesses to date.

    New York Phase 4

    Allows for the reopening of arts, education, entertainment, and recreational entities.  The state also has not issued guidance for Phase 4 businesses to date.

    As always, as we venture forward into unknown territory, the simple advice to keep everyone safe hasn’t changed much: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not an option. Wipe down frequently touched surfaces and avoid touching your face, nose and eyes. Wear a mask when among others and keep a distance of at least six feet.

    For the latest information on Coronavirus and how it affects seniors and recommendations, refer to the AARP website link 

    Headquartered in White Plains, NY with offices in Stamford, CT, Garden City, NY and New York, NY, STEPS Home Care is a family, female, and locally owned company serving New York and Connecticut.  Like our clients, we've experienced the stress and challenges of caring for aging loved ones.  Our family is here to help yours, sharing experience and guidance to provide you with peace of mind.

 

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