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Updates from HCS

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We have set up an HCS Coronavirus Hotline – (585) 340-2050 – to give everyone a place to get more information and make it easier for our staff to communicate about symptoms, travel and exposure to an infected person.

CDC Links  |  County Links   |  Cleaning and Hygiene Tips   |   Ways to Minimize Exposure

Resources for People with Disabilities  |  For Expressive Beginnings Families    

 

A Message from Marisa Geitner, President & C.E.O.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape our lives, I hope you’ll keep three key things in mind. First, as we try to establish new routines, please know that our agency must follow very specific rules as we go forward. Then, as the urge to travel becomes harder to resist, there are things we need to do to stay healthy. And finally, the disease caused by this coronavirus has not gone away and we need to remain steady in our efforts to protect each other from illness.

Moving forward

OPWDD has provided guidelines to providers and family members allowing the resumption of home visits, community outings, returning to residential settings following extended home visits and the reopening of day programs. As always, our number one priority is the health and safety of the people we support. You can find safety plans for Heritage Christian Services’ day programs and pre-vocational services at this link.

COVID-19 and travel

So far in the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been consistent about its approach to travel: Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

If you’re considering traveling, you can minimize your risk of exposure to COVID-19 when you:

  • Avoid regions of the world and the United States that are experiencing high levels of COVID-19, including destinations with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. Check the CDC’s Travel Health Notices for updates about places where travel is not recommended.
  • Avoid large social gatherings like weddings, funerals or parties.
  • Avoid mass gatherings.
  • Avoid crowds — for example, in restaurants, bars or movie theaters. Avoid airports and bus and train stations, too.

It’s hard to resist the need to take some time out for vacations. Here are a few things to keep in mind around travel:

  • New York State’s travel advisory continues for anyone returning from states with a significant degree of COVID-19 transmission. People who travel to the identified states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days when they return. If you make travel plans, please be sure to check to see if the state you plan to visit is on the restricted list. Find updates and detailed information on the New York State website.
  • Unmasked close proximity to others increases your risk of exposure. When you and others in close proximity to you wear face coverings, you decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Other travelers may unknowingly infect others while travelling.
  • When our staff members return from a trip and before returning to work, we will screen them regarding their potential exposure and current health. A screening and clearance, based on CDC guidance, will be necessary before they can return to work.

Whether you’re headed to another state or staying close to home, here are some things you can do to lower your risk of exposure when you do travel:

  • Avoid prolonged, close exposure (within 6 feet) in crowds or densely inhabited areas. (i.e., planes, trains, buses, crowded public places).
  • Pack enough alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it within easy to reach; use after all public interactions.
  • Bring a mask to wear in public places.
  • Do not touch your face (eyes, nose and mouth, especially).
  • Prepare food and water for your trip. Pack non-perishable food in case restaurants are crowded and social distancing is not possible. Eating in crowded restaurants remains a very high-risk experience. Choose curbside pickup options and avoid eating close to others.
  • If you want to clean your travel lodgings, the CDC has tips on how to clean and disinfect.
  • Do not share living space with friends or family members you do not already live with. Do not share travel or living space with anyone who has symptoms of illness, fever or has had a known exposure to a person actively diagnosed with COVID-19.

For more information about traveling, visit the CDC Travel FAQ and its Travel in the US page or the NYS COVID-19 Travel Advisory page.

Staying healthy

Finally, it’s important that we all continue to take steps to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. The best way to keep from getting sick is to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus. Frequent and thorough hand washing is still one of the primary ways to stay healthy. Wear a cloth face covering when you’re out in public. Stay six feet away from others when you’re out of your home, and avoid crowded places and mass gatherings. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. And get your flu shot.

For today and always, we are stronger together.

 

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CDC Links

CDC How COVID-19 spreads

CDC’s national contact center

CDC – COVID-19 page  

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County Links

Monroe County Department of Public Health

Erie County Department of Public Health

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Cleaning and Hygiene

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping electronic devices clean is key to helping stop or slow the spread of COVID-19.  To clean your desktop monitors, laptop screens, smartphone, smartwatch and tablet screens use isopropyl alcohol.

  1. Shut down the computer; phones can remain on.
  2. For laptops, disconnect power to the laptop or monitor.
  3. Apply the cleaning solution (isopropyl alcohol) to the microfiber cloth (Do not pour the cleaning solution directly on the screen).
  4. Gently wipe the screen with the cloth containing the applied solution.
  5. For laptops, hold the center of the back of the laptop screen with your opposite hand so as not to bend and damage the screen while cleaning.
  6. Gently wipe the screen with a dry cloth.
  7. If any marks remain, moisten the cloth with your cleaning solution, and then gently wipe the cloth across the display in one direction, moving from the top of the display to the bottom.
  8. Be sure the LCD screen is completely dry before closing the laptop lid or powering the laptop or desktop monitor on.

To clean your keyboard and mouse:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Apply the cleaning solution to the microfiber cloth (Do not pour the cleaning solution directly on the keyboard or mouse).
  3. Gently wipe the keyboard and mouse with the cloth containing the applied solution.
    1. Be sure to not catch the edges of the individual keys on your cloth. Doing so will pull the key caps off of the keyboard. Move slowly and take your time.
    2. If your laptop has one, be careful not to pop the point stick cover off while cleaning your laptop keyboard. Should this pop off during cleaning, turn it over to visualize the its shape and return it to the point stick by gently pressing it down on the point stick.
  1. Gently wipe the keyboard and mouse with a dry cloth.
  2. If any marks remain, moisten the cloth with your cleaning solution and wipe again.
  3. Be sure the keyboard and mouse is completely dry before closing the laptop lid or powering the laptop or desktop on.

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The way to avoid the coronavirus is the same as avoiding colds and flu:

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Stay as healthy as you can.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash. If you can’t, sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hand.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Or, use a greater-than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Greet others with a friendly wave, fist or elbow bump instead of shaking hands or hugging.

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Resources for People with Disabilities

COVID-19 Information By and For People with Disabilities 

COVID-19 In Plain Language

COVID-19 in Plain Language videos

Helping Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Become Comfortable with Face Masks

Mask Wearing Social Story

Wearing a Mask- A Social Narrative for Children by Autism Little Learners

We Wear Masks – A Social Story about the coronavirus for children

COVID-19 Day Services Risk/Benefit Discussion Guide

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Expressive Beginnings Families

As a reminder, call the hotline at (585) 340-2050 if parents or children have a fever of 100 degrees or higher, cough, sore throat, body aches or shortness of breath or have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have traveled to an area on New York State’s travel restriction list.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, stay home with your children and contact your health care provider or the county health department before reaching out to us on the hotline. Should we discover any exposure to COVID-19 within our staff or the families we support, we are prepared to follow any guidelines from the CDC or Department of Health.

As for additional proactive measures, please note the following:

  • Families should limit visits to our child care.
  • We are constantly reminding our staff and families to report symptoms and exposure; help to keep things sanitized; and to wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.

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