Signed into law on March 11, 2021 by President Biden, The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), provides COVID-19 funding relief for eligible state, local, territorial and tribal governments. The purpose of ARPA is to support the public health response to COVID-19, address negative economic impacts, replace experienced revenue loss, implement premium pay for essential employees and make vital broadband and water/sewer infrastructure improvements.
Throughout the pandemic, our Centralina Area Agency on Aging Ombudsman have received numerous requests from long-term care residents and families to help increase visitation. One special type of visit is the compassionate care visit in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support and/or assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering, at risk or who is dying.
On March 29, President Biden announced that the administration was taking further action to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines. One action included in this expansion is that, through a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), ACL would provide nearly $100 million to help increase vaccinations among older adults and people with disabilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected older adults and individuals with disabilities, especially more disproportionately than other demographic groups. As a result, many agencies and organizations that provide support reduced or curtailed their services in order to protect employees and volunteers from possible exposure to COVID-19 and to prevent the spread of the illness to individuals they served.
The Centers for Disease Control stated that older adults are among those that should not travel at all over the holidays due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure. This also includes having family members travel to the older adult as well.
Through interactive discussions, polling and presentations, we heard from over thirty elected officials and executives about their top concerns related to the pandemic. Our team listened for opportunities to adjust our services and programming to better support COVID-19 response, recovery and relief.
In March when our state was considering a stay-at-home order, Centralina Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and the state of North Carolina canceled all in-person workshops.