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Sports: Diagnostic COVID-19 testing and notice to ECDOH staff included in updated ‘New York Forward’ guidance
The Erie County Department of Health and its division of environmental health provided several updates on Friday and Saturday.
The following requirements apply to non-professional, non-collegiate sports tournaments that include teams that travel from outside the Western New York or Finger Lakes regions to Erie County. For all sports tournaments, including those listed under low-, medium- and high-risk sports in the “New York Forward” sports and recreation guidance, any players/competitors and coaches from outside these regions are required to have a negative diagnostic PCR COVID-19 test collected within 72 hours of the tournament. For teams within these regions, there are no diagnostic testing requirements.
A tournament involves four or more teams playing multiple games or competitions at the same facility. The Western New York Region includes Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties. The Finger Lakes Region includes Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties. This guidance does not apply to tournaments where all participating teams are from either of the regions.
Facility management or the event organizer is responsible for verifying that teams comply with this testing requirement. Any team/group with a positive player/competitor or coach cannot play during the sport event. All teams/groups are required to take the appropriate actions regarding a COVID-19 positive player/competitor, including contacting local health departments to discuss quarantine and isolation requirements.
Also, sports facilities must use the ECDOH large gathering event notification form (www.erie.gov/health/eventnotice) to provide tournament information to ECDOH for review at least five days prior to the planned event. Per “New York Forward” sports and recreation guidance, facility capacity cannot exceed 50% for any event.
These requirements take effect March 5.
ECDOH will hold a webinar for interested coaches, league staff and facility managers to answer questions about this announcement, and on “New York Forward” guidance. Call 716-858-7690 if interested. For general COVID-19 questions, call the COVID-19 information line at 716-858-2929, or for facility-specific questions, call the division of environmental health at 716-961-6800.
Vaccinations: 14% of Residents Have Received at Least One Dose
The ECDOH said that, based on information provided by the New York State Department of Health, 14.3% of Erie County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, 9.2% percent have received the two-dose series.
Some vaccine deliveries to distribution points, including ECDOH points-of-distribution, were delayed last week due to severe weather in other parts of the county. That, it said, accounts for the relatively small increase in new first vaccine doses administered this week.
The NYSDOH vaccine tracker data through Feb. 25 reports the Western New York region administered 92% of received vaccine doses through county, state, nursing home, hospital, pharmacy and community sites. Through Thursday, ECDOH administered 23,507 first doses and 18,507 second doses at county-run PODs.
Quarantine Guidance & Changes Based on CDC Recommendations
ECDOH is adopting quarantine recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks (14 days) after receiving their second dose of either of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna). An individual who is considered fully vaccinated may be exempt from quarantine for up to 90 days.
ECDOH contact tracers added vaccination status questions to their case investigation scripts, and will confirm how vaccination may affect quarantine when speaking with close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
If a person received the full vaccine series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and is (1) exposed to an individual who tested COVID-19 positive or (2) traveled to a U.S. state other than those contiguous to New York and remains asymptomatic, that person will not need to quarantine under the criteria below.
Additionally, a person who recovered from a COVID-19 infection and remains asymptomatic will not need to quarantine under the criteria below.
Quarantine Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Persons:
Fully vaccinated persons with an exposure to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case OR who traveled to a U.S. state other than those contiguous to New York are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the criteria below:
•Fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
•Within 90 days of the receipt of the last dose in the vaccination series
•Remain asymptomatic since their current COVID-19 exposure or the vaccination series completion.
Exceptions to the Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Persons:
√ The above three criteria are not met
√ International travel including Canada
√ Fully vaccinated hospitalized persons
√ Fully vaccinated residents of health care settings
If one falls into one of the above exceptions, they will need to quarantine in accordance to previously issued New York state quarantine guidance. The last two exceptions are due to the unknown vaccine effectiveness in these specific populations, the higher risk of severe disease and death, and challenges with social/physical distancing in health care settings.
Quarantine Guidance for Persons who Recovered from a COVID-19 Infection:
Persons who recovered from COVID-19 infection and are exposed to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case or who traveled to a U.S. state other than those contiguous to New York will not need to quarantine if they meet the criteria below:
•Recovered from COVID-19 illness due to laboratory confirmed (PCR or antigen) COVID-19 infection and has met the criteria to end isolation
•Within the first 90 days following the onset of symptoms of their initial laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection or within the first 90 days of their first positive COVID-19 test result if they were asymptomatic during initial infection
•Remains asymptomatic since the new exposure
These guidelines may change as new COVID-19 information becomes available.
Everyone, including fully vaccinated persons and persons who recovered from COVID-19 illness, must continue to wear masks, wash hands frequently, and practice social distancing.
This guidance has been posted to the ECDOH COVID-19 website, www.erie.gov/covid19/iq
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources