Courtesy of the California Disability-Senior Community Action Network
SACRAMENTO, CA [BY MARTY OMOTO, CDCAN LAST UPDATED 04/28/2020 6:04 PM (PACIFIC TIME]
The two states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths – New York and New Jersey – issued guidance this month to general acute hospitals that allows for a support person to be with a person with disabilities – including developmental – diagnosed with coronavirus in those health facilities, with certain exceptions.
New York issued its guidance on April 10th – at that point in crisis with an overwhelming daily number of new cases, hospitalizations in urgent care and deaths – and New Jersey on April 25th. also a state that was facing a overwhelming crisis in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, second only to New York.
The New Jersey guidance, patterned after the earlier New York directive, goes alittle further in terms of who is covered by the guidance, though the New York guidance is more detailed.
Advocates (including CDCAN) in California have pushed for a similar guidance to be issued by the State for people with disabilities (including developmental, mental health, behavioral health, people who are blind, people who are deaf) who are hospitalized, and point to the directives previously issued by the two states who have experienced overwhelming numbers of patients in hospitals. Advocates, including family members and people with disabilities, say this guidance is urgently needed, especially as the number of new cases and hospitalizations continues to rise in the state.
California does have at least one COVID-19 related guidance that focuses specifically on visitations – though the guidance limits those to childen in pediatric care, maternity, and end of life care. Other guidance dealing with health facilities do not mention visitations.
One guidance document that was released in mid-April to the hospitals by the California Department of Public Health (a draft version was posted April 23 – see link below. Final version which was distributed to health facilities including to hospitals is not posted on the department’s website or available currently to the public) does not mention visitation or the need that a person with a disability (or other special need) who is diagnosed and hospitalized due to COVID-19.
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