CONNECTICUT OPTICIANS ASSOCIATION

COA News

COVID-19 Update 7  (May 09, 2020)

May 9, 2020
 

      The COA is dedicated to provide you with updates in response to help keep you, your patients and your work environment healthy and safe.

     During his news briefing Friday afternoon, Gov. Ned Lamont and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman outlined some of the details his administration is considering for Phase 1 of Connecticut's reopening plans on May 20.
 

     However, the Governor said individuals 65 and older should continue to stay home even after May 20 and that workers who are part of a vulnerable population would remain eligible for unemployment even if their workplaces reopen. He did not promise protection for other workers who feel uncomfortable returning to their jobs, saying businesses and workers would "self-regulate" in those situations.

     Documents containing guidance for businesses about those plans are currently being finalized and are anticipated to be released on Saturday. As soon as those documents are ready, they will be published online at ct.gov/coronavirus and publicly noticed so that businesses can have an opportunity to review the details.

     Face coverings remain available for essential small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The State of Connecticut is continuing to distribute free face coverings to essential small businesses with fewer than 50 employees through a partnership with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and its affiliate CONNSTEP. Eligible businesses include those defined as essential by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

     Eligible essential small businesses can request up to two free face coverings per employee by filling out the form at ctcovidresponse.org.

     The state reported there have now been 32,411 coronavirus cases reported. This is an increase of 627 in one day. The Connecticut deaths related to COVID-19 complications now stands at 2,874 an increase of 77 since Thursday (May 7).

    Connecticut's "Stay Safe, Stay Home" and all other related safety measures remain in effect through at least May 20.  All nonessential workers are directed to work from home, and social and recreational gatherings of more than five are prohibited.

     COVID-19 Updates are sent to all optical professionals, regardless of your affiliation with the COA, including members and non-members.

Together we will get through this

____________________________________ 

      Stay informed about coronavirus (COVID-19) including an FAQ and other Connecticut guidance and resources at: ct.gov/coronavirus. 

   Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state's emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777

   Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.

LINKS FROM PREVIOUS COA UPDATES

Part-time and Self Employed Relief Package Update - State of CT

Sanitization Operating Assumptions - Vision Council

Guidance for Cleaning & Disinfection (2 pgs) - Center for Disease Control  

Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection (9 pgs) - Center for Disease Control 

WestGroup - WestGroup

Sanitize DeRigo Rem De Rigo Rem
Sanitize Marcolin - Marcolin Eyewear

Sanitize Tura - Tura

Rapid Testing Site Available in New Haven
Coronavirus Disease 2019: Myth vs Fact  - Johns Hopkins Medicine

Compare Small Business Financing Options - SoFi Lending Corp. 
File for Unemployment Benefits - Connecticut Department of Labor

List of Sanitizers that kill COVID-19  - US Evironmental Protection Agency

Optometry Practice Reactivation Guide - American Optometric Association
The Importance of Well-Being in Times of Uncertainty - WebMD Health Services
Patient-Physician Relationship FAQ COVID-19 American Medical Association

Six Month Suspension for License Renewal

Suspension for Continuing Education for Opticians

CDC tutorial on how to make masks 

You Tube : cloth face coverings 
CDC Prepare your Practice for COVID-19 

CDC  Recommendations for Office Disinfection 

CDC Guidelines for the Workplace

CDC's Recommendations for Employers 

Misinformation Regarding Protections for Contact Lens Wearers

Coronavirus and Your Eyes - American Academy of Ophthalmology

Create Your Own Face Shield - Opticians On Facebook

COVID-19 Update 6  (May 05, 2020)

May 5, 2020
 

      The COA is dedicated to provide you with updates in response to help keep you, your patients and your work environment healthy and safe.

     On Monday afternoon, Gov. Ned Lamont reported there have now been 30,173 coronavirus cases reported in the state. This is an increase of 861 since Sunday.  He said the Connecticut deaths related to COVID-19 complications now stands at 2,556.

      Worldometers reported 3,690,863 cases worldwide, 255,176 deaths and 1,221,082 recoveries. The number of U.S. cases stood at 1,221,981 with 70,812 deaths and 192,177 recoveries.
     

     The Governor announced a statewide program that will provide free online learning licenses to unemployment insurance recipients, including those who have been economically impacted by the current public health crisis. The SkillUp CT program will give thousands of residents who have been forced to file for unemployment at-home access to the same high-quality training courses used by many Fortune 500 companies.

     The phase-in date of May 20 for the reopening of the economy in CT, " is quickly approaching," Lamont said. "Opening before that date is just not prudent. People who run small businesses are not experts in infection control," he said "They are not virologists, so we need to give them very specific instructions as to how to sanitize when to sanitize, distance, etc." 

     As guideline to reopening, The Vision Council has created a Sanitization Operating Assumptions outline for frames in the dispensary.  Recognizing various frame materials, the VC has also included sensitization and disinfection guides for various manufacturers. They have invited additional manufacturers to submit their guideline. Check their site often for updates or check with your frame vendors
.

     COVID-19 Updates are sent to all optical professionals, regardless of your affiliation with the COA, including members and non-members.

Guidance for Cleaning & Disinfection (2 pgs) - Center for Disease Control  

Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection (9 pgs) - Center for Disease Control 

Sanitize DeRigo Rem De Rigo Rem
Sanitize Marcolin - Marcolin Eyewear

Sanitize Tura - Tura

 

Together we will get through this

____________________________________ 

   For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged

to visit:  ct.gov/coronavirus.
 

   Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state's emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777

   Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.

LINKS FROM PREVIOUS COA UPDATES


Rapid Testing Site Available in New Haven
Coronavirus Disease 2019: Myth vs Fact  - Johns Hopkins Medicine

Compare Small Business Financing Options - SoFi Lending Corp. 
File for Unemployment Benefits - Connecticut Department of Labor

List of Sanitizers that kill COVID-19  - US Evironmental Protection Agency

Optometry Practice Reactivation Guide - American Optometric Association
The Importance of Well-Being in Times of Uncertainty - WebMD Health Services
Patient-Physician Relationship FAQ COVID-19 American Medical Association

Six Month Suspension for License Renewal

Suspension for Continuing Education for Opticians

CDC tutorial on how to make masks 

You Tube : cloth face coverings 
CDC Prepare your Practice for COVID-19 

CDC  Recommendations for Office Disinfection 

CDC Guidelines for the Workplace

CDC's Recommendations for Employers 

Misinformation Regarding Protections for Contact Lens Wearers

Coronavirus and Your Eyes - American Academy of Ophthalmology

Create Your Own Face Shield - Opticians On Facebook

COVID-19 Update 5  (May 01, 2020)

May 1, 2020

      The COA is dedicated to provide you with updates in response to help keep you, your patients and your work environment healthy and safe.

     As of Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Ned Lamont said there have now been 27,700 coronavirus cases reported in the state. He said the deaths related to COVID-19 complications now stands at 2,257.
 

     He added that these deaths are increasingly in the nursing homes. Hospitalizations are down again for the eighth day in a row, standing at 1,650. The number of tests performed is 97,133.  

 

     Worldometers reported 3,321,170 cases worldwide, 234,399 deaths and 1,049,400 recoveries. The number of U.S. cases stood at 1,095,304 with 63,871 deaths and 155,737 recoveries.

 

     The Connecticut Department of Labor reported that it has received 436,000 applications for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began (March 13).
 

     During his daily news briefing yesterday, Governor Lamont said his administration is considering to reopen Connecticut's economy in phases beginning May 20, 2020 as long as numbers continue to decline for 14 days  (Contingent on reopening criteria, and all businesses will open at limited capacity as defined by opening levels). The requirement to wear a face covering or mask will continue.

     Lamont released a list of businesses and industries that could potentially reopen:

  • Restaurants (outdoor only)
  • Remaining retail 
  • Offices (Continue work from home where possible)
  • Personal services (hair and nail only)
  • Museums zoos (outdoor only)
  • Additional outdoor recreation (camping, mountain biking)
  • University research programs

    To watch the full video of the governor's news briefing, click here.

 

     COVID-19 Updates are sent to all optical professionals, regardless of your affiliation with the COA, including members and non-members.
 

Rapid Testing Site Available in New Haven
Coronavirus Disease 2019: Myth vs Fact  - Johns Hopkins Medicine

Compare Small Business Financing Options - SoFi Lending Corp. 
File for Unemployment Benefits - Connecticut Department of Labor

List of Sanitizers that kill COVID-19  - US Evironmental Protection Agency

Optometry Practice Reactivation Guide - American Optometric Association
The Importance of Well-Being in Times of Uncertainty - WebMD Health Services
Patient-Physician Relationship FAQ COVID-19 American Medical Association

     Together we will get through this. 

____________________________________

   For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged

to visit:  ct.gov/coronavirus.
 

   Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state's emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777

   Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.

LINKS FROM PREVIOUS COA UPDATES

Six Month Suspension for License Renewal

Suspension for Continuing Education for Opticians

CDC tutorial on how to make masks 

You Tube : cloth face coverings 
CDC Prepare your Practice for COVID-19 

CDC  Recommendations for Office Disinfection 

CDC Guidelines for the Workplace

CDC's Recommendations for Employers 

Misinformation Regarding Protections for Contact Lens Wearers

Coronavirus and Your Eyes - American Academy of Ophthalmology

Create Your Own Face Shield - Opticians On Facebook

COVID-19 Update 4  (April 24, 2020)

April 24, 2020

      The COA is dedicated to provide you with updates in response to help keep you, your patients and your work environment healthy and safe.
 

Follow-up to COVID-19 Update-3 of April 23 

     At the request of the Connecticut Opticians Association in cooperation with the Board of Examiners for Opticians, Public Health Services Manager at the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Steven Carragher, issued a clarification regarding continuing education requirements for opticians.
 

On April 22, Gov. Ned Lamont issued Executive Order 7DD suspending the Continuing Education Requirements for Opticians. Licensees with expiration dates between March 10, 2020 and February 28, 2021 are not required to complete the continuing education required for license renewal.

 

     COVID-19 Updates are sent to all optical professionals, regardless of your affiliation with the COA, including members and non-members.     

 

     Together we will get through this. 

____________________________________

   For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit:  ct.gov/coronavirus.

   Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state's emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777

   Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider

   To help prevent spread of the virus in your dispensary, the COA further recommends following the suggestions published from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and implementing them in your practice. 

CDC tutorial on how to make masks 

You Tube : cloth face coverings 
CDC Prepare your Practice for COVID-19 

CDC  Recommendations for Office Disinfection 

CDC Guidelines for the Workplace

CDC's Recommendations for Employers 

Misinformation Regarding Protections for Contact Lens Wearers

Coronavirus and Your Eyes American Academy of Ophthalmology

Create Your Own Face Shield Opticians On Facebook

COVID-19 Update 3  (April 23, 2020)

 
 
 

April 23, 2020

      The COA is dedicated to provide you with information to help keep you, your patients and your work environment healthy and safe. 

      Yesterday, Gov. Ned Lamont issued Executive Order 7DD suspending Continuing Education Requirements for Opticians (Chapter 381), reprinted in part below.

WHEREAS, as a result of distancing and other protection measures enacted to limit the transmission of COVID-19, people with professional and occupational licensure through the Department of Public Health may be unable to safely satisfy their continuing education requirements for licensure in a timely manner; and . . .

 

9. Suspension of Continuing Education Requirement for Health Care Providers. The continuing education requirements in Chapters 370, 373, 376, 376a, 376b, 376c, 378, 379, 379a, 380, 381,381a, 383, 383a, 383b, 383c, 384, 383d, 384a, 384c, 385, 387a, 388, 397a, 398, 399 and Section 19a-515 of the General Statutes are suspended for one (1) year for occupations and professions with annual education requirements, and for the other occupations and professions within said statutes, the continuing education completion period and reporting requirements are suspended for six (6) months. The continuing education requirements are modified as stated above for each person for the continuing education year in which March 10, 2020 lies for him or her.

     Questioning if the annual CEC requirement of 7 credits has been completely waived, the COA has requested clarification regarding the number of credits that will be required for renewal by March 10, 2021.    

 

     A reminder, CT Regulations require that all Continuing Education credits must be obtained by face-to-face didactic instruction. Magazine and online credits are not acceptable for license renewal.

 

Together we will get through this. 

____________________________________

 

   For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit:  ct.gov/coronavirus.

   Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state's emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777

   Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider

   To help prevent spread of the virus in your dispensary, the COA further recommends following the suggestions published from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and implementing them in your practice. 

CDC tutorial on how to make masks 

You Tube : cloth face coverings 
CDC Prepare your Practice for COVID-19 

CDC  Recommendations for Office Disinfection 

CDC Guidelines for the Workplace

CDC's Recommendations for Employers 

Misinformation Regarding Protections for Contact Lens Wearers

Coronavirus and Your Eyes American Academy of Ophthalmology

Create Your Own Face Shield Opticians On Facebook

COVID-19 Update 2  (April 09, 2020)

   The Connecticut Opticians Association sends wishes to you and your family that you remain healthy and safe.  

   The COA is dedicated to provide you with information to help keep you, your patients and your work environment healthy and safe. 

As of Sunday evening April 19:

People Tested Positive in CT: 17,962 (up 400 since Apr 18)

Total Fatalities in CT: 1,127 (up 41 since Apr 18)

For a complete town by town breakdown, click here.
 

     Today, Monday, April 20 is the day when people in Connecticut will have to start covering their faces with masks or cloths in public places.

     Gov. Ned Lamont issued the Executive Order that goes into effect at 8 p.m. He called an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

     People should expect to wear the coverings while on the job if they are working around people. "This executive order also applies to the workplace," he said. "Employees will have to cover their nose and mouths at all times. Employers are expected to provide masks or cloth face coverings."

     For the second straight day, the number of people hospitalized in Connecticut due to complications caused by COVID-19 has slightly decreased. This is "another step in the right direction and another sign that the efforts we've been taking as a community are having an impact on slowing the outbreak," Governor Lamont said. "Whether this continues is dependent upon on the actions each of us takes over the next several days and weeks. This isn't over - we lost another 41 Connecticut residents, and we mourn for their lives. Together, we can have an impact on flattening the curve, but if people tell you the pandemic has ended - they are wrong."

     If employers can't provide coverings, they must provide materials and a

CDC tutorial on how to make masks or cloth face coverings and compensate employees for their costs to make their own. The masks do not have to be those worn by medical professionals. They can simply be made of cloth, such as a scarf, bandanna or towel. They will also be required for anyone looking to use a taxi, rideshare or public transportation.


     Lamont said a lot of this boils down to common sense. "If people are going out on a jog or walking your dog, this is not where a mask is required," he said. "It is when they are around people and need to keep social distance."

     Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state's emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.

Providing information to Connecticut residents

   For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit:  ct.gov/coronavirus.

   Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider

   To help prevent spread of the virus in your dispensary, the COA further recommends following the suggestions published from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and implementing them in your practice. 

CDC Prepare your Practice for COVID-19 

CDC  Recommendations for Office Disinfection 
CDC Guidelines for the Workplace

CDC's Recommendations for Employers 

Misinformation Regarding Protections for Contact Lens Wearers

Coronavirus and Your Eyes American Academy of Ophthalmology

Create Your Own Face Shield Opticians On Facebook

Together we will get through this. 

COVID-19 Update 1  (April 02, 2020)

   The Connecticut Opticians Association sends wishes to you and your family that you remain healthy and safe.  

   The COA is dedicated to do its best to provide you with information to also help keep you, your patients and your work environment healthy and safe. 

   We urge you, per the request of Governor Lamont to stay home if possible. The Board of Examiners for Opticians has requested a ruling as to whether Opticians fall under the category of Essential.  Due to extreme volumes of work at the DPH, they have not yet received an answer.  

   As health care providers we are at a higher risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.  We need to take exceptional precautions to keep ourselves safe and minimize the spread of this to our patients. 

  • If you must be available for an optical "emergency" consider creating staff teams and do not change team members. This makes it easier to monitor who tests positive within the team, curbs the spread to the other staff teams and allows operations to continue.
  • Keep the doors to your dispensary locked to prevent persons from wandering in. See patients by appointment. Patients can also be checked in by phone and wait in a parking area to be called in. 
  • Increase signage outside the practice warning sick or exposed patients and family members to reschedule their visits.
  • Only allow patients-no family members-inside the practice. If this restriction is not possible, allow only one person to accompany the patient. Specify that children should never come into the practice.
  • Create personal space of 6 feet by taping off or placing "No Sitting" signs on chairs in waiting areas.
  • Wear gloves and a mask. Change gloves or disinfect after each patient.
  • This is NOT a time to try on various frames, but if it is necessary, disinfect each frame thoroughly, by immersion, if possible. 
  • If you MUST take any facial measures, wear gloves and a mask and if possible a breath shield. Try to obtain previous measures on file whenever possible.
  • Disinfect any instrument that has come in contact with any person. 
  • Co-pay collection will create face-to-face interaction so must be considered as a health risk for both the employee and patient. Encourage online payment via patient portals to minimize the risk of infection.
  • If documents must be signed, disinfect a pen, in front of the patient and disinfect again after use. Do not allow use of the patient's own pen.
  • Disinfect all door handles, etc. after each patient.
  • Deliver all necessary eyewear at curbside in a paper bag.

   As Health Care Professionals we need to protect the health and well being of every person that walks through your door.  

   To help prevent spread of the virus in your dispensary, the COA further recommends following the suggestions published from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and implementing them in your practice. 

CDC Prepare your Practice for COVID-19 

CDC  Recommendations for Office Disinfection 
CDC Guidelines for the Workplace

CDC's Recommendations for Employers 

Coronavirus and Your Eyes American Academy of Ophthalmology

Create Your Own Breath Shield - Opticians On Facebook

   For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit:  ct.gov/coronavirus.

   Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.

Together we will get through this.

PRACTICAL EXAMS POSTPONED  (March 19, 2020)

The State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health has postponed administration of the Optician Practical exams. The exams were tentatively scheduled during the weeks of June 16 - 25. Waiting to see how the situation with the COVID-19 evolves, any future date has not been determined.

SUPER SUNDAY POSTPONED  (March 19, 2020)

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Connecticut Opticians Association has postponed its Super Sunday continuing education event scheduled for April 19.

The C.O.A. is aware that many opticians rely on Super Sunday to complete the mandatory continuing education crdits for your license renewal.

The COA communicated with the Board of Examiners for Opticians to request an extension for each licensee unable to complete their seven hours of education prior to their renewal period as a result of this postponement.

The Board is awaiting word from the Governor, who must approve an extension.


Because any credit courses sponsored by the COA are FREE with membership, we recognize that many opticians renew their COA membership to attend our Spring Super Sunday.

We recognize our responsibility to provide quality education during your membership year. COA membership runs from June 1st to May 31 each year.

SO, if you join or renew your membership before April 19 (the intended day of Super Sunday) we will extend your membership through the date of the rescheduled Super Sunday. To those who attended some courses in October and expected to finish their requirement in April, we will extend your membership as well.

We understand that there are other sources to obtain your credits. But, remember, established in 1935, we are the only organization that represents all opticians as professionals. No matter who you are, or where you practice, we represent you!