As you are aware, the Coronavirus, and the disease it causes, known as COVID-19, is now spreading in our state and neighboring counties. As of today, March 16, 2020, we have not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19 with our residents or staff. Nevertheless, we want to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to keep your loved ones and our staff safe.
What is coronavirus and how is it spread? Coronavirus is a new version of common group of viruses that cause respiratory illness, including forms of the common cold. It is believed that most cases likely are spread person-to-person by droplets when coughing. However, because this virus is very new, health authorities continue to assess how it spreads.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus? Coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms such as cough, fever, trouble breathing, and/or pneumonia. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Those at the highest risk for complications and serious illness from COVID-19 include the very young, the elderly, and those with heart disease, diabetes, and/or impaired respiratory function or immunity.
Can you prevent coronavirus? Unfortunately, as a new virus, there is no general immunity in the community. There also currently is no available vaccine or anti-viral medication, although aggressive research by the CDC and other health agencies is ongoing. The main treatment includes taking supportive measures, such as maintaining adequate hydration and nutrition, and providing respiratory support when needed. Taking these steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Wearing facemasks as a routine measure is not recommended for non-ill persons because it has been shown that facemask wearers touch their face more often than persons who are not wearing a mask and, thus, may actually increase risk of contracting the virus. Facemasks should be reserved for persons providing care for an ill or contagious person, or for ill persons who are out of the house receiving care.
Please keep in mind that influenza is still a prominent, widespread and serious infection in our community, and vaccination is still recommended if it has not already been completed.
What actions is the Living Resources taking to increase safety for my family member?
Our primary goal is to prevent illness with the people we support and our staff. In view of this goal, and at the recommendations of other health care agencies, we have put the following measures in place:
- All visitors to our residences are being screened for illness and travel to high risk areas to determine safety of allowing visitation.
- Each facility has a sign in and screening point for entry of all visitors.
- We are limiting visitation from non-critical persons and screening our workforce.
- We are providing our entire workforce with access to Telehealth medicine (at no cost to the employee) regardless of whether they receive their healthcare coverage through Living Resources or elsewhere.
- Certified Residential Facilities – We have a responsibility to provide for all the needs of our individuals in our residential homes and supportive apartments. As it has become necessary to employ social distancing, these supports will be provided around the clock in their homes. This is our unwavering commitment.
- Program/Services Closures * **
- College Experience Program – Following the College of Saint Rose protocols, classes have been cancelled and dorms have been closed.
- CareerNext – Following SUNY Schenectady protocols, classes are being cancelled until March 27. After that date, students will attend classes virtually.
- Site-Based Day Habilitation – Will be temporarily closed starting Tuesday, March 17 for all individuals residing in certified residential homes operated by Living Resources or other agencies. For individuals residing in their own home or with their family (non-certified), we will be temporarily closed starting Wednesday, March 18, to provide them with the opportunity to make alternate arrangements. Site-Based staff will be redirected to provide supports as appropriate and necessary.
- Day Community Opportunities (DCOP) programs will cease providing services immediately. DCOP Staff will be redirected to provide supports in the residential and community hab programs.
- Art Programs and Beekman Art Gallery – All studios will be temporarily closed starting March 18.
- Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Structured Day Program will temporarily close Tuesday, March 17 at 2pm. Additionally, ABI Service Coordination will provide supports via telephone instead of face-to-face meetings.
- Community Habilitation (ComHab) – supports required in the home which could be met by Living Resources staff will continue, however, community activities will cease effective immediately.
- Afterschool Respite – Following local school district guidelines, services have been cancelled until such time that students return to schools.
- Employment Services – We will work to provide remote support to ensure continuity of employment and work to gain employment for individuals currently seeking employment.
- *All of these closures will be in effect until March 31, 2020, unless we deem it necessary to amend.
- **While programs are closed, staff will continue to provide opportunities to engage individuals by phone or through other mediums to the greatest extent possible.
We are carefully monitoring the local and global situation and following all guidance from local, state, and federal health agencies. While we all need to be vigilant and cautious, it is also important to stay calm and not contribute to any undue panic. We will continue to keep you informed as the situation evolves.
Living Resources Leadership is meeting regularly, and will continue to stay current and communicate when appropriate.
We greatly appreciate your cooperation with these measures knowing that the health and protection of your loved ones is our highest priority!