OPENING UP METRICS
As we are witnessing across the country and around the world, the loosening of restrictions and the reopening of areas has to be based on defined metrics as opposed to whims or desires. If the defined criteria is not administered and adhered to by people, we may trend regressively to our former status. We need only to observe negatively trending populations in the southeast and Sun Belt areas of our country and areas like Brazil beyond our borders to view regression. Properly administered phased re-openings, hopefully, will put us ahead of a virus we’ve been behind from the start and set us up for controlling future outbreaks.
New York and New Jersey governors have held daily briefings and provided extensive oversights of regions. They have guided phased re-openings based on the following metrics: If the infection rate is sufficiently low; health care is capable of absorbing any possible resurgence; diagnostic testing capacity is sufficiently high to isolate new cases; and contact-tracing-treatment is in place. Hospitalization rates, death rates, new hospitalizations, hospital bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, and contact-tracing-treatment must meet the metric criteria.
In New York, hospital beds and ICU beds must be at the minimum of 30% availability. Every hospital in any of the 10 New York regions must have a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Testing will identify the full rate of spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing allows for the identification of asymptomatic carriers who are spreading the virus undetected and to isolate them. Each region must have the ability to achieve 30 tests per 1,000 people per month. This is consistent with Dr. Deborah Birx and the Coronavirus Task Force.
The CDC and the WHO recommend contact tracing programs be in place before restrictions are eased. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has partnered with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and Vital Strategies to recruit and train regional contact tracers. Labs will report positive COVID-19 cases; contact tracers will interview the person; all contacts of the positive person are interviewed; and additional persons are tested, quarantined for 14 days, and monitored by testers each day.
Each region will reopen businesses in phases with two weeks between each phase. Businesses are prioritized based on their economic impact and lower risks of infection for workers and customers, followed by those of lesser economic impact, but higher risks of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area. One COVID-19 positive person can infect many.
Until an effective vaccine is found, everyday life will not be the same unless it has become the new normal.
Progress is the development of order in a changing world for a greater benefit. Anticipating and planning keep us “ahead of the curve.” There were two initiatives the Trust wanted to meet by the (official) end of the 2019-20 school year; EOB’s (Explanation of Benefits) on-line and a dedicated Medicare Retiree Rx program. Both initiatives have been met.
On-line EOB information was mailed to every member at least 18 years of age. During the first week, over 600 members created accounts. RetireeRx information was mailed last month to all eligible members and new RetireeRx cards have been mailed. Show the new card to your local pharmacist when receiving a local prescription. All existing and new mail orders can continue through ProAct as they are administering the RetireeRx program and will have your information. Continue to use CanaRx for all available Brand Name drugs.
All members can create a ProAct Web Portal at: https://secure.proactrx.com
RetireeRx members who have previously signed up for the web portal can utilize it after July 1, 2020 to reorder prescriptions, update their contact information, etc. If a RetireeRx member has never utilized the portal, they will not be able to sign up after July 1, but can still use the “Quick Rx Refill’ option on the ProActRx.com. mail page.
RETIREE DENTAL: Semi-Annual premiums are due by June 30,2020
It will be a summer of limited travel for most people. If you are traveling outside the country for an extended time, remember to acquire supplemental medical coverage. www.insuremytrip.com is one of several travel insurers. Remember your mask, 6’ of social distancing, and to use good sunscreen protection.
Be healthy, be safe!
See you in September and, always, at: www.ktftrustfund.com
The Trustee is the official newsletter of the Kingston Trust Fund and is published every month of the school year.
The Trustee is distributed to members via ktfesp.org and email. Hard copies are mailed to retirees without email.
Active members who would like a hard copy, send your name/school name via PONY mail to Kathy Hyatt at Cioni.