Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Mar 27 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

A Message from our Executive Director/CEO

We remain committed to providing you with up-to-date and accurate information.  The Governor’s Office and OPWDD have designated The Arc Westchester as an ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDER.  As such, we are exempt  from the Governor Cuomo that mandate businesses to have employees stay home from work.  We know you are aware that  we provided vital services to the people with developmental disabilities and they depend on us during this critical time.  You will find trusted resources and guidance for responding to COVID-19 below, and we will be updating these links regularly as the situation evolves. The health and safety of ALL members of our community is a priority.

In keeping with New York State Governor’s initiative to stop the spread of COVID-19, The Arc Westchester has been notified by OPWDD to suspend all community outings and home visits for individuals living in our residences effective March 25. 2020 at 5pm.

We have have also received notice from OPWDD that effective immediately we need to stop any visitors to our residences except when medically or clinically necessary. We are distributing signs in all our residences and staff are being briefed on the necessary procedures. We are personally contacting families about this new order. We understand that this is an added disruption to our homes and families, but we must follow all rulings by the state to keep everyone safe.

The Arc Westchester’s Day Services Program, including Choices Neighborhood, was temporarily suspended on March 18, 2020. We realize the impact that suspension of our day programs has on our families, staff and the people we support, however, it is critical we follow precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

  1. All community outings and home visits for individuals living in our residences have been suspended.  Our Residential Staff and Nursing teams are first responders to each individual’s health. They support their daily needs in order to keep all members of the residence safe and prevent the spread of the virus. People who live in any of our residences, will be provided with Day Services in the residence in which they reside.
  2. For those who reside in the community with their families, our Day Services staff we will share access to available resources and day supports.  Additionally, The Arc Westchester will continue to explore our ability to provide supports within the home for families that might prefer this option and for whom staff is available.
  3. Our Wellness Center Clinic is an essential service and remains open with safety measures in place to both screen staff and individuals for clinic access, and continues to practice extensive cleaning and sanitizing. The clinic is pleased to be able to provide telemedicine by either telephone or Zoom to offer continuity of care during this time. Appointments are necessary. We will be screening any visitors to the clinic with a series of recent health-related questions. (see questions below)
  4. All Children’s School for Early Development class locations are closed for an indefinite period. Our teachers, therapists and support staff are meeting the needs of our students and their families using digital technology like Zoom to continue parent conferences, school district meetings, staff updates and setting up a Google classroom.
  5. Essential Administrative functions will continue to make sure critical systems are running and access to crucial supplies are are available where needed.

To limit the number of people in our buildings at any time, remote work assignments have been put in place for staff that are able to do so. There are many other critical functions to running our agency, such as payroll, billing, mail, IT, communications, clinical, residential services, etc. that require our building to remain open.

We have an Emergency Management Team in place, working 24/7 reporting and acting on all issues pertaining to this crisis.  We are regularly reviewing our response plans and procedures to ensure the health and safety of our families, individuals and staff, while minimizing disruption of our operations, and continue to emphasize best practices for infection control.

The Arc Westchester is monitoring information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York Department of Health (DOH), and working directly with The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and The Arc New York to address safety protocols specific to our field and the people we support

The Arc Westchester has taken steps to keep our community safe. Deep sanitizing has taken place and continues to take place daily using CDC/EPA approved products, sanitizing of the common areas and offices at ALL Arc Westchester locations.

In accordance with requirements from regulatory agencies and public health experts we are screening all visitors, including vendors, who want to enter any of our buildings. Visitors will need to respond to the following three questions prior to being given entry:

  1. Have you traveled to another country in recent weeks? Which country?
  2. To your knowledge, have you had contact with any Person Under Investigation for Coronavirus within the last 14 days, or with anyone known to have coronavirus?
  3. Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath)?

If any visitor answers “YES” to any of the questions, they will not be granted entry. We are requesting all screened visitors and staff entering one of our building sites to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival.

Please be mindful of the following precautions, recommended by the New York State Department of Health to minimize contracting the virus which are very similar to the usual steps we take to avoid the cold and flu:

  1. Stay home if you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  4. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  5. Do not shake hands. Instead, wave or elbow bump.
  6. If you have family or friends who are elderly, have compromised immune systems or chronic respiratory or coronary issues, do not visit them if you feel sick. Stay home and keep your loved ones safe.
  7. Consider telecommuting.
  8. Consider staggering working hours if you must go to work.
  9. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or disinfecting wipes.
  10. Get your flu shot. Although the flu shot will not protect you from COVID-19, it will help prevent the flu which has similar symptoms to this coronavirus.

For additional information, please visit the following websites:

NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (DOH)

Department of Health 24/7 Hotline: 1-888-364-3065

General Information and Updates

To receive regular updates on the latest developments text:
COVID to 692-692 (for updates in English)
or text
COVIDESP to 692-692 
(for updates in Spanish)

 

THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)

General Information and Updates

Informational Videos

How to Protect Yourself

 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Hotline Number 211

Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

THE ARC WESTCHESTER
914-949-9300
Message our contact page 


As a reminder, all family members and employees of The Arc Westchester who are ill should refrain from visiting an Arc Westchester location or any public location in the community as directed by the New York State Health Department.

The Arc Westchester is prepared to take any necessary steps as additional information comes to us from local officials.  Please reach out to your staff contact at The Arc Westchester with questions pertaining to you or your loved one or visit our contact page and send us a note. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

We appreciate your help in keeping our community healthy. While we understand that this is a stressful situation, filled with much waiting and uncertainty, we hope that our continued communication and transparency helps to keep us all grounded during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Tibi

Tibi A. Guzmán
Executive Director/CEO

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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Ongoing updates and changes about this health crisis impacting people receiving services, families, and
The Arc Westchester staff – 
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