Updates for People Supported, Families, & AHRC NYC Staff

June 25, 2020 Update:

A Message to Families, People Supported, and AHRC New York City Staff

Family Visitation at AHRC New York City Certified Residences

Phase 1 Policies and Procedures as of June 25th, 2020

AHRC New York City will begin to allow visits at our homes, effective Saturday, June 27th, 2020, following specific guidelines as mandated by the Office for People with Development Disabilities (OPWDD). To ensure that we continue to minimize the spread of COVID-19, family members and advocates allowed to visit at this time must adhere to the visitation guidelines in OPWDD certified residences. These guidelines are for in-home visitation only; OPWDD is not permitting people we support to leave certified residences for community outings or off-site visits with family outside the supervision of residential staff.

AHRC New York City has consistently adhered to the guidance of OPWDD, the New York City and New York State Departments of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. All precautions were put in place to protect the health and safety of the people we support and our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue to mitigate risk of viral transmission, family visitation in certified residences will be phased in over the next four weeks, depending on continued reduction in the incidence of COVID-19.

Phase 1

Will include outdoor visits with people who are able to understand and comply with social distancing, with or without staff supports.

Phase 2

Will include visitations inside homes for people supported who are able to understand and comply with social distancing with staff supports, and who do not have any medical conditions that place them at a greater risk of contracting or experiencing complications from COVID-19.

Phase 1 will begin on June 27th, 2020. Phase 2 will begin on July 11th, 2020. Phases 1 and 2 are subject to change based upon monitoring of COVID-19 exposure within AHRC New York City and within the five boroughs of New York City. This policy will also be adjusted based upon any change in requirements imposed by OPWDD.

Visitation during Phase 1 will follow the protocols below.  Policies and protocols for Phase 2 are forthcoming and depend on the successful implementation of Phase 1.

Please note that no visitation will be permitted in residences under quarantine for COVID-19

PRIOR TO THE VISIT

  • Family members or advocates are required to contact the Manager or Assistant Manager of the residence at least 24-hours in advance to schedule a day/time to visit. This is required to ensure that multiple visitors are not scheduled on the same day/time, and to allow for cleaning and sanitization of visitor areas.
  • A maximum of two visitors from the same family may visit at one time. Visitors must be 18 years of age r older.
  • Visitors will be limited to one hourly visit per week to ensure that all families have an opportunity to visit each week. Families may request additional time if the schedule is not filled.
  • Outside visits will take place weather permitting and should ideally be planned for days when the weather is expected to be conducive to sitting on porches, decks, or in yards or green spaces.
  • All people supported and visitors will be required to wear masks, gloves, and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.

ARRIVING AT THE RESIDENCE

  • Arriving visitors should ring the doorbell and will receive a health screening at the doorway. The residence staff will take the visitor’s temperature and complete the required COVID-19 screening questions. Visitor health screening information will be documented in the log used to record the same information for staff.
  • If a visitor has a fever or answers “yes” to any of the screening questions, he or she will not be permitted to continue the visit and will be asked to leave the residence. The visitor will not be able to be reconsidered for visitation until he or she is symptom free for at least 72 hours.
  • If a family member or advocate has a pre-existing condition that results in a COVID-like symptom (e.g., consistent cough, sneezing, or sore throat from seasonal allergies), he or she is encouraged to visit a medical provider to obtain a note to indicate he or she is not experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.
  • After the visitor has successfully completed the health screening, he or she will be asked to wait outside until residence staff can bring the family member outside. All visits during Phase 1 will take place outside the residence in green space, yards, or on porches or decks.

DURING THE VISIT

  • Visitors and people supported are required to wear face masks and gloves, provided by AHRC New York City for the duration of the visit. Face masks are required to be worn properly, fully covering the nose and mouth.
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed throughout the visit. Unfortunately, kissing, hugging, or other physical contact between loved ones is not allowed at this time.
  • Visitors will be asked to apply hand sanitizer at the beginning of the visit.
  • Food or beverages cannot be consumed during the visit, as eating and drinking require removal of face masks.
  • At the end of the visit, the person supported is required to apply hand sanitizer before re-entering the residence. Upon reentry to the residence the person supported will be encouraged to thoroughly wash their hands and properly dispose of his or her mask and gloves.
  • Staff are required to clean and sanitize the meeting area for each visit.

Download a pdf version of this announcement (Phase 1 Visitation to AHRC NYC 6.25.20)


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Please help us get through this unprecedented crisis. We will persevere and will meet these challenges, together.


Archived Updates

Previously-published updates can be accessed below:

May 19, 2020 Update:

A Message to Families, People Supported, and AHRC New York City Staff

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It is hard to believe we are beginning week 9 of the pandemic and the May 15th date for reassessing the situation has come and gone. As always, AHRC New York City’s highest priority is the health and safety of ALL members of our community. We continue to closely follow the recommendations of the NYC and State Departments of Health, the CDC and OPWDD about plans for reopening.  We continue to request that all readers of this publication remain vigilant in following the guidelines: wear masks and gloves whenever you are out of your home, traveling or engaging in necessary activities, and continue infection control protocol like handwashing with soap and water frequently. New York City has met 3 of the 7 health metrics that must be met prior to a phased re-opening, let’s get to 7 safely by doing this together!

Brief updates as of today:

  • AHRC NYC has incurred quite a number of losses of beloved people supported, their family members, and staff. That being said, reflecting on what is happening all over the city, the number of deaths, hospitalizations, and people exhibiting COVID Like Illness (CLI) has declined greatly in recent days. That being said we are continuing to vigilantly follow all guidelines as indicated above.
  • AHRC NYC’s Article 16 Clinic is currently providing individual and family counseling, speech services, and psychosocial evaluations via telehealth.  To make a referral or learn more about these services please call 212-780- 4491 or email Referrals@ahrcnyc.org.
  • Testing – Understanding the importance of testing as a public health initiative, AHRC NYC, working in partnership with several local medical centers, will be offering antibody and virus testing in the not too distant future for individuals supported and staff through Quest, CityMD, and directly through OPWDD. Details to be released shortly.
  • AHRC NYC is proud to announce that our Chief Executive Officer, Marco Damiani, has been appointed to the Mayor’s Sector Advisory Council on Public Health and Healthcare. The Council’s goal is to reopen our City with strength and strategy. Having him represent our field on the Council is a very important statement about the value of our sector in restarting the economy and city life and will ensure that real-world guidance makes sense and keeps people safe.  Click here to read more about this.
  • The week of May 4th was both Nurse Appreciation Week and Teacher Appreciation Week. See excerpts from Marco Damiani’s letters to our nurses and letters to our teachers. These sentiments are shared by all of us.

To our nurses excerpt:

…Our nursing team is the lifeblood of our pandemic response and without question, your work is at the very essence why we exist – to support, protect, and empower the most vulnerable among us. How many times nowadays can we use the word “heroic”? I will do myself one better, for you, our nurses: Behavior that is bold or dramatic, especially unexpectedly so.

That is the definition of “hero”. But really, what is unexpected about your response? Nothing. This is who you are, your very nature. And it is why your colleagues are so fortunate to have you here with us.

In the throes of this pandemic, you have gone wildly beyond the basics of the job. You are literally saving lives.

As an organization, we have counted on your wise counsel, your abundance of medical knowledge, your no-nonsense get-the-job-done attitude, your caring nature, and perhaps, most importantly, your humanity…

To our teachers excerpt:

…To quote Mr. Rogers, “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his [her] life is a hero to me.” 

In the throes of this pandemic, you have gone beyond the basics of the job. You are all heroes.

As an organization, we have counted on your abilities, your knowledge, your spirit of fun and creativity, and most importantly, your humanity. Your understanding of the children you work with and their families, and your willingness to go the extra mile to assist them during this time of great need is a centerpiece of our daily battle with COVID-19.

John Steinbeck said, “Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.’ Your actions during the last two months have without question been demonstrations of the human mind and spirit…

  • On a happy note, AHRC New York City’s Our Broadway group continues to meet virtually in spite of the Coronavirus and to entertain themselves and us! They just Keep Dancing! (Note the images were shot pre-pandemic.) Click here to check them out.

Realizing that the needs of families extend beyond service delivery and continue to grow, families can refer to AHRC NYC’s Covid-19 Resource Guide which we continuously update to provide families with resources they need.


May 05, 2020 Update:

A Message to AHRC New York City Staff

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We are now two months into our COVID-19 response. While we have suffered heartbreaking losses and have struggled through many challenges, our staff’s extraordinary devotion, caring and tireless efforts to support people with disabilities, their families, and each other, has been unprecedented.

As we continue to navigate the weeks ahead, let’s pause and celebrate the enormous power of team diversity. We are all different in so many ways, but these differences are grounded in the recognition that we share a common purpose. In our work with people with disabilities, this is one of the most essential and optimistic ways of embracing our common humanity. Disability can mean “different”, but we all know it does not mean less human. Our nation’s founding premise was that of equal rights and it must always be our North Star. Doing our best to keep the people we support safe from the coronavirus is not just a programmatic or clinical effort, it is grounded in the basic human rights of the people we support.

We urge you to sign this Change.org Petition!


This petition is asking for additional and meaningful funding from the federal government. The I/DD system is supported primarily by Medicaid funding, which provides the essential services that New Yorkers with I/DD rely upon. Ours is the hardest hit state in the nation during this pandemic, which has resulted in an unprecedented revenue shortfall. As a result, these critical supports and services to people with I/DD are in jeopardy. Our great state has always been committed to providing essential services for all New Yorkers. We stand with Governor Andrew Cuomo in calling for vital federal aid and ask you to do the same to help New York uphold its responsibility to our loved ones.

So, while we cannot predict when the coronavirus crisis will truly settle down and end, we can find some comfort knowing that we are truly all in this together and, because of that, our bonds will be even further strengthened as we learn together, plan together and rebuild together.

If the response to the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that together we are truly better and can overcome unimaginable obstacles if we stay the course.

Marco Damiani

Chief Executive Officer

As of today at AHRC New York City:

  • AHRC NYC schools are physically closed in keeping with the Mayor and Governor’s directive that schools not reopen this school year. That being said, our teachers and school administrators are working remotely with families, providing the children we serve with virtual opportunities that are educational, therapeutic, and fun.
  • Our Adult Day Centers throughout the five boroughs are physically closed. Individuals are not receiving supports on-site, but staff continue to reach out and check in with all families to offer all types of assistance and supports. For example, AHRC NYC’s Our Broadway group is meeting – singing, dancing, and acting – virtually! Art classes and studio work is continuing. And, our Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program college students are partaking in offerings at the respective colleges they attend. A parent recently sent us this note, indicating the impact that virtual supports have had on a family member: “I was so fearful that he would forget everyone or that he would feel distant or alone, and with your assistance, his connection has instead grown! I think his understanding and communication skills have actually increased!”
  • AHRC NYC residences are all open and telehealth is available at every residence. In addition, Day Services are being provided to residents by staff from Adult Day Services. We thank those staff for working in concert with their colleagues in the residences.
  • While several of our residences have suffered great losses, the majority are free of the Coronavirus and Corona-like illness. Everyone who has been following our virus management procedures has contributed to limiting the spread of the virus.
  • People employed through our Employment & Business Services Division (EBS), have fared the same way as people in the general population. Some people are still employed and receiving support from AHRC NYC job coaches, while some have unfortunately lost their jobs as have many other New Yorkers. Some people working on contracts cleaning FDNY facilities have been hailed as essential workers alongside the firefighters!
  • A large variety of Recreation Services are being offered using Zoom and other online platforms. These sessions include yoga, arts and crafts, exercise, discussion groups about many topics of interest, and a virtual dance party on Saturday evenings.
  • AHRC NYC’s Clinic is providing tele-mental health services by psychologists and social workers. These clinicians are also available to perform psychosocial evaluations.
  • AHRC NYC leadership is finalizing a plan for the gradual reopening of services and the increase of staff coming into Maiden Lane and other non-programmatic spaces. Eventual restarts will be subject to guidance from the NYC and NYS Departments of Health and OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities).

For Families:

  • Realizing that the needs of families extend beyond service delivery and continues to grow, we have continuously updated our Resource Guide. The Guide contains resources that can offer all types of assistance from mental health counseling to unemployment and rent benefits. The Guide can be found here.

We will continue to keep everyone informed and request that all families send their email address to stayintouch@ahrcnyc.org. Please include the name of your family member, your name and cell/home phone number in order to facilitate communication.


April, 22, 2020 Update:

A Message to AHRC New York City Staff

Dear AHRC New York City Team Members:

We are now many weeks into our COVID-19 response. While we have suffered heartbreaking losses and have struggled through many challenges, your extraordinary devotion, care, and tireless efforts to support people with disabilities and their families, and each other, has been unprecedented.

As we continue to navigate the weeks ahead, let’s pause and celebrate the enormous power of team diversity. We are all different in so many ways, but these differences are grounded in the recognition that we share a common purpose. In our work with people with disabilities, this is one of the most essential and optimistic ways of embracing our common humanity. Disability can mean different, but we all know it does not mean less human. Our nation’s founding premise was that of equal rights and it must always be our North Star. Doing our best to keep the people we support safe from the coronavirus is not just a programmatic or clinical effort, it is grounded in the basic human rights of the people we support.

In a previous message, I mentioned our active efforts to acquire resources necessary to enable a strong response to the coronavirus. I am pleased to say that we have been successful in acquiring substantial amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE). All staff members working in any of our programs now have access to PPE. If, for any reason, you have concerns about PPE availability, please let your department head know immediately. As you know, masks or protective face coverings should be worn outside of programs or residences as well.

So, while we cannot predict when the coronavirus crisis will settle down, we can find some comfort in that we are truly all in this together and, because of that, our bonds will be even further strengthened as we learn together, plan together, and rebuild together.

If the response to the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that together we are truly better and can overcome unimaginable obstacles if we stay the course.

Finally, we will be scheduling a virtual Town Hall in the immediate future and are asking that you send any questions or comments to jennifer.amendola@ahrcnyc.org in advance, so that I can address them during the meeting.

Thank you for staying the course!

Stay Well,

Marco


April 16, 2020 Update:

For Families, People Supported and Staff

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As always AHRC New York City’s highest priority is the health and safety of ALL members of our community. We continue to stay informed and are in touch with the NYC and State Departments of Health (DOH) and the CDC. We are closely following their recommendations.  We request that all readers of this publication remain vigilant in following these guidelines:

  • Wear masks and gloves whenever you are out of your home, traveling or engaging in necessary activities
  • Continue infection control protocol like hand-washing with soap and water frequently

As of today:

The last few weeks have been among the toughest this organization has ever experienced in our 70 year history. We have lost numerous cherished people who lived in our residences and several extraordinary staff members to the Coronavirus. But, thanks to the amazing commitment, diligence, and professionalism of our staff, the majority of our locations are COVID-free. We recognize that more lives may be lost in the near future. We also must take the time to celebrate the fact that 10 COVID-positive individuals have come home from the hospital, an uplifting trend for which we are all grateful.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Every day, in fact, every hour, AHRC NYC staff display amazing determination, caring, professionalism and innovation, teamwork and resilience in their efforts to promote the well-being of and opportunities for people with disabilities throughout New York City.

HEROES WORK HERE!

On the Advocacy Front:

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working hard to get our story out to New Yorkers in the city and across the state, and to others around the nation. This is a very important effort, as we have many unheralded heroes who deserve not just thanks and attention, but all the resources they need for as long as they need them, to break the back of the coronavirus, get us to the other side, and begin to move, gradually and safely, to a more normal way of doing our work. We’ve had several recent successes in this area.

The New York Times published a front-page article outlining the incredible work being done by DSPs (Direct Support Professionals) and others, and the many challenges that AHRC New York City and other organizations have been facing during this crisis. A list of our most recent news articles, including The New York Times is below…

New York Times: It’s Hit Our Front Door’: Homes for the Disabled See a Surge of Covid-19.

Queens Daily Eagle: Through Tragedy Group Home Staff Show Up for New Yorkers with Disabilities

Queens Daily Eagle: Covid-19 Threatens People with Disabilities and the Agencies that Serve Them

CBS2 News: Caregivers of the Disabled Sacrificing, Fighting Hard Keep Their Clients Alive

silive: Staten Islanders with Disabilities Work to Adapt to New Routines During Covid-19

CityLimits: Guardianship Programs See Rising Covid-19 Death Toll

Newsday: NYS Senator, Chuck Schumer: Support Hazard Pay for Essential Workers

This kind of high-level attention has already yielded fruit. Key AHRC NYC leadership staff have had a call with OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities), the NYS Department of Health, and members of the Governor’s Executive Chamber, to discuss our response to the coronavirus and to reinforce our need for specific resources.

For AHRC NYC staff:

We have put together AHRC NYC’s Covid-19 Resource Guide for Staff, which includes, Local, State and Federal resources. This guide is updated periodically.  Some of the newest resources include Child Care Services for Essential Employees, a NYS Mental Health Hotline, and updated Food Assistance access.

For families and friends:

We have put together AHRC NYC’s Covid-19 Resource Guide for Families, which includes, Local, State and Federal resources which we will continue to update periodically.

Feeling stressed by the COVID-19 epidemic? You are not alone.
Call the NYS Emotional Support Helpline 7 days a week, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm at 1-844-863-9314.

For up to date information on AHRC NYC’s response to the Coronavirus, visit our website. For questions about health and personal issues, call your doctor and/or contact the Department of Health at the 888-364-3065  or at the Department of Health website.


April 10, 2020 Update:

For Families, People Supported and Staff

A Message from Marco Damiani, CEO, AHRC New York City

Dear AHRC New York City Team Members:

I write to you today as part of my continuing effort to keep you updated on what we are doing to support those who benefit from our services and to support you, our valued staff.

Over the last week and a half, we’ve been working hard to get our story out to New Yorkers in the city and across the state, and to others around the nation. This is a very important effort, as you are unheralded heroes who deserve not just thanks and attention, but all the resources you need for as long as you need them, to break the back of the coronavirus, get us to the other side, and begin to move, gradually and safely, to a more normal way of doing our work. We’ve had several recent successes in this area.

I am very pleased to let you know that yesterday the New York Times published a front-page article outlining the incredible work being done by DSPs and others and the many challenges that AHRC New York City and other organizations have been facing during this crisis.

The link to the NYT article is here: ‘It’s Hit Our Front Door’: Homes for the Disabled See a Surge of Covid-19.

This kind of high-level attention has already yielded fruit. Key AHRC NYC leadership staff and I will soon be on a call with OPWDD, the NYS Department of Health, and members of the Governor’s Executive Chamber to discuss our response to the coronavirus and to reinforce our need for specific resources.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve made a number of thank-you calls to staff members, in particular to team members supporting our residential programs, which now includes quite a few of our day services staff. It is tragic that several sites have suffered deaths, but, thanks to your commitment, diligence and professionalism, the majority of our locations are COVID-free. It is extremely encouraging that 10 COVID-positive individuals have come home from the hospital, an uplifting trend for which we are all grateful. To say I’ve been inspired by your determination, creativity, teamwork, and resilience, would be an understatement. My recognition and gratitude go to those of you supporting the overall organization’s administrative needs as well, for you are providing vital support and doing essential work to keep us all going.

As we celebrate Passover and Easter, we are reminded that human beings are extraordinarily resilient creatures. We find ways to reconnect with, celebrate, and support one another. We also find solace in collectively pausing to grieve and remember those we have lost. In these days of social distancing, we are fortunate that we have access to technology that can bring us together.

I wish you and your loved one’s peace, good health, and strength during these holidays.

Thanks again for all you are doing!
Stay Strong and Stay Well!

Marco


April 03, 2020 Update:

For Families, People Supported and Staff

A Message from Marco Damiani, CEO, AHRC New York City

As we end another week in our determined efforts to respond to the impact of the coronavirus, I ask that we all pause for a moment to recognize that this past week was among the toughest this organization has ever experienced in our 70-year history. We have lost 3 cherished people who lived in our residences and 2 extraordinary staff members to the virus. We must steel ourselves going forward in the recognition that more lives may be lost in the near future. We also must take the time to celebrate the joy and unique value that each of these individuals brought to so many lives. This week, three people returned from the hospital COVID-free, so we also have encouragement.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Every day, in fact, every hour, I am moved by what AHRC NYC staff are doing minute-by-minute to keep the people we support safe, and to keep each other safe. Our front-line workforce has one of the most difficult jobs in our nation right now. Our obligation and commitment to our community is to be a strident advocate for all of the resources needed to get us through this pandemic and to emerge as strong as ever in promoting the well-being of and opportunities for people with disabilities throughout New York City and beyond.

So, as we reflect upon the challenges, sorrows, and successes of the past few weeks, please take a moment to thank those around you, be grateful for the power of working together for the common good, and do what is necessary to revitalize and take care of yourself in the days and weeks to come.

The African proverb that you have likely heard many times before, “If you want to travel fast go alone. If you want to travel far, go together“ has never had more meaning than it does for all of us at AHRC New York City. We still have some distance to go, and the distance will continue to be extraordinarily difficult, but I know, based on what I know about our history, that we will prevail.

Stay well,

Marco

 

As of today:

At this point, almost all of us have likely been exposed to the virus. Some will never know and be symptom-free and will have mild to moderate symptoms that will resolve in a week or two.  A much smaller number of people will need access to appropriate treatment from medical professionals. We are doing the best we can to take care of people in the AHRC NYC community. We have been successful in obtaining additional supplies of PPE, (protective personal equipment) and are currently in possession of an ample supply although, we are continuously in search of additional equipment to keep our devoted staff protected.

On the Advocacy Front:

On Monday, March 30th, Marco Damiani our CEO, was interviewed by Errol Louis on NY1, click here to watch the video. Marco did a wonderful job explaining the needs of people with I/DD and the staff who support them to average New Yorkers, many of whom have no understanding of our field. This piece will undoubtedly help us in our advocacy efforts to obtain what we need during this crisis and after. In fact, Errol Louis, the reporter who interviewed Marco, wrote an editorial in the Daily News about the needs of people with I/DD and the dedicated staff who work with them. Click here to read the article.

Another interview with Marco and some of AHRC NYC’s front-line workforce will appear in the Brooklyn Eagle and the Queens Daily Eagle. These interviews will also highlight the ongoing needs of our community.

For Families:

Realizing the needs of families that go beyond our service delivery, we have compiled a Resource Guide that we hope will prove useful. The Guide contains resources that can offer all types of assistance from mental health counseling to unemployment and rent benefits currently available. Click here to view AHRC NYC’s Resource Guide.

We will attempt to keep everyone informed. We request that all families send their personal email address to stayintouch@ahrcnyc.org. Please include the name of your family member, your name and cell phone number or home number in order to facilitate communication.


March 25, 2020 Update:

For Families, People Supported and Staff

A Message from Marco Damiani, CEO, AHRC New York City

As we enter another week of responding to the coronavirus, we see additional positive cases, as we would expect. These individuals are being well cared for and, as always, they are in our thoughts for a speedy return to good health.

This past week we witnessed the remarkable compassion, talent, and responsiveness of our thousands of staff. Staff who are working overtime to attend to someone’s needs; a manager that spends the night at a residence to be sure that there is adequate supervision and coverage in the house; nurses that work tirelessly to monitor the health and wellbeing of people in our programs and staff; inventive staff who are using technology to strengthen connections among one another, support people in need and their families and provide training; industrious staff who scour the Internet in search of facemasks and other protective equipment and are successful in increasing our supplies; devoted administrative staff that ensure our day-to-day financial, human resources, facility and IT needs continue to be met; highly committed managers that provide the local leadership so desperately needed right now; and our COVID-19 central response team that convenes every day to keep track of the myriad of issues and challenges we face and then deploys supports and strategies to the best of their abilities.

We will persevere and will meet these challenges, together.

Marco Damiani
CEO, AHRC New York City

As of today…

Almost all of us have likely been exposed to the virus, may not know it at this point and may never know it. Many that contract the virus will have mild to moderate symptoms that will resolve in a week or two.  A much smaller number of people will need access to appropriate treatment from medical professionals.

As regards programs:

  • The schools in New York City, including AHRC NYC’s schools are closed. Staff is engaging in distance learning with some students.
  • After school programs operated through AHRC NYC’s Recreation Department which take place in schools are closed.
  • Site-Based Day Habilitation programs and prevocational programs are temporarily suspended.
  • For people that reside in the community with their families, staff has contacted every family to review their needs and to assess our ability to provide other supports.
  • People living in AHRC NYC residences are being provided with extra activities in the residence.
  • We have put telehealth in all residences.
  • Online and virtual supports are being developed as well as other services to keep in touch and support people and families.
  • Additionally, AHRC NYC  is exploring our ability to provide additional Community Hab in the home.

Positive developments:

  • We have been successful in obtaining additional supplies of PPE (protective personal equipment) and are continuously in search of additional equipment.
  • The Governor has issued an Executive Order designating all of our staff as essential personnel. Staff are doing their best to perform vital responsibilities.

We will do our best to keep everyone informed using this communication method.  

FAMILIES, if you have not already done so, it is important that you send the following information to AHRC NYC by email using stayintouch@ahrcnyc.org.

  • The email address you prefer to receive communications
  • Your full name and the full name of your family member
  • Your cell phone or home number

STAFF, as this will be our primary method of communication going forward, we ask that you forward these communications to your colleagues if you suspect they are not receiving them. Staff who are not receiving these communications directly or who do not have an AHRC NYC email address should email stayintouch@ahrcnyc.org with their full name and email address to enable communication.

This message can be viewed as a pdf file in the following languages:

Coronavirus_Families_3.25.20_Spanish
Coronavirus_Families_3.25.20_Chinese
Coronavirus_Families_3.25.20_Russian


Additional Resources – March 25, 2020

OPWDD
Suspension of Community Outings and Home Visits
Interim Billing Guidance for Providers of Day Habilitation, Prevocational and Day Treatment
Management of Coronavirus/COVID-19 in OPWDD Family Care Homes

New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH)
Guidance When Enjoying the Outdoors

U.S. Department of Health and Human and Services (DHHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
COVID-19 and HIPAA: Disclosures to Law Enforcement, Paramedics, other First Responders and Public Health Authorities


March 20, 2020 Update:

FOR FAMILIES, PEOPLE SUPPORTED, AND STAFF

As always AHRC New York City’s highest priority is the health and safety of ALL members of our community. We continue to be in touch with OPWDD, the NYC and State Departments of Health (DOH) and the CDC. We are closely following their recommendations. We continue to use excellent infection control procedures and follow the guidance of public health experts.

Many of us have likely been exposed to the virus and may not know it. Many that contract the virus will have mild to moderate symptoms that will resolve in a week or two. A much smaller number of people will need access to appropriate treatment from medical professionals.

Not surprisingly, we now have several confirmed instances of COVID-19 at AHRC NYC. The affected individuals are receiving excellent care and we wish them speedy recoveries.

AHRC NYC Programs:

  • NYC’s Mayor made the difficult decision to close the schools in New York City, this includes AHRC NYC’s schools.
  • After school programs operated through AHRC NYC’s Recreation Department which take place in our Department of Education schools are closed.
  • Site-Based Day Habilitation programs with and without walls and prevocational programs began temporary suspension of programs on March 18th.
  • People that live in AHRC NYC residences are being provided with extra activities in the residence.
  • We are putting telehealth in all residences.
  • Online and virtual supports are being developed for day hab, the clinic, recreation and other services to keep in touch and support people and families.
  • For people that reside in the community with their families, staff is contacting every family to review their needs and to assess our ability to provide other supports.
  • Additionally, AHRC NYC is exploring our ability to provide additional Community Hab in the home.

AHRC NYC Positive Developments:

  • We have been successful in obtaining additional supplies of PPE – protective personal equipment—such as masks, gloves and gowns to use in very specific circumstances.
  • The Governor has issued an Executive Order designating our direct service and clinical staff as essential personnel.  Staff are doing their best to come to assigned work locations and performing vital responsibilities.

We will attempt to keep everyone informed. We request that all families send their personal email address to stayintouch@ahrcnyc.org. Please include the name of your family member, your name and cell phone number or home number in order to facilitate communication.

For up to date information on AHRC NYC’s response to the Coronavirus, visit our website at www.ahrcnyc.org. For questions about health and personal issues, call your doctor and/or contact the Department of Health at 888-364-3065 or at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

This message can be viewed as a pdf file in the following languages:

Coronavirus_Families_3.20.20_English
Coronavirus_Families_3.20.20_Spanish
Coronavirus_Families_3.20.20_Chinese
Coronavirus_Families_3.20.20_Russian

Stress Management Tips from NYC Health:

coping with stress disease outbreak


March 19, 2020 Update:

Numbers from Health NY.gov, @ 7:52 pm (3/18/2020)

  • New York City – 1871 (+165)
  • New York State – 3086 (+1400)

Update from NYC (3/18/2020)

  • DOH has updated the status of the current spread to “Community Spread”.
  • Guidance from NYC on self-monitoring and work restrictions for healthcare workers (Click here)

Update from NYS / OPWDD (3/18/2020)

  • A new instruction has been issued from OPWDD regarding the contact tracing process for individuals and staff who have been exposed to Covid-19.
  • Cuomo increase the density control, mandating 75% of the employee base must work from home.
    • Authority to take emergency action on operating certificates (MHL 16.17)
    • Deviation from service plans (14 NYCRR 633.12, Part 636)
    • Restriction on visitors
    • Abbreviated training & med administration
  • Interim guidance for community habilitation services (Click here).
  • Health Advisory: COVID-19 Guidance for Operators of Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRAs), Community Residences (CRs) and Private Schools Regarding Visitation (Click here)
  • Direct support professionals defined as essential employees (Click here)
  • An OPWDD document repository has been created by OPWDD and collects all printable materials, guidance documents, health advisories, and webinars (Click here)

March 18, 2020 Update:

Numbers from Health NY.gov, @ 7:44 pm (3/17/2020)

  • New York City – 1706 (+737)
  • New York State – 814 (+351)

World Health Organization / Federal / CDC (3/16/2020)

Update from NYC (3/17/2020)

Update from NYS / OPWDD (3/16/2020 – 3/17/2020)

CONTACT NUMBERS

  • DOH Corona Virus Hotline for health providers: 866-692-3641
  • Department of Health 24/7 Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
  • To receive regular updates on the latest developments text COVID to 692-692

STANDING GUIDANCE FROM NYS DOH

  • Stay home if you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Do not shake hands. Instead, wave or elbow bump.
  • 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.
  • Consider telecommuting, biking or walking to work if possible.
  • Consider staggering working hours. For example, instead of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., change some work hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or disinfecting wipes.
  • 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.

March 17, 2020 Update:

As always AHRC New York City’s highest priority is the health and safety of ALL members of our community.

We at AHRC NYC are staying informed and are in touch with the NYC and State Departments of Health (DOH) and the CDC. We are closely following their recommendations.

A great deal has changed since our update on Friday as regards program closures.

Last night, NYC’s Mayor made the difficult decision to close the schools in New York City. That included AHRC NYC’s schools. They will be closed until at least April 20th.

After school programs operated through AHRC NYC’s Recreation Department which take place in our Department of Education schools will not operate for the same time period.

Day Service programs with and without walls and prevocational programs will also begin temporary suspension of programs as of 5 pm today, Tuesday, March 17th:

People that live in AHRC NYC residences will be provided with Day Hab in the residence in which they reside.

For people that reside in the community with their families, in the coming days, we will contact every family to review their needs and the needs of their loved ones, and to assess our resources and ability to provide other day supports.

Additionally, AHRC NYC will explore our ability to provide Community Hab in the home for families that might prefer this type of option and for whom staff is available.

We will attempt to keep everyone informed.

We request that all families send their personal email address to stayintouch@ahrcnyc.org. Please include the name of your family member, your name and cell phone number or home number in order to facilitate communication.

Even after the closing of programs we request that if any staff is showing symptoms of illness or has had contact with someone under investigation for, or diagnosed with the Coronavirus (COVID 19), please immediately inform AHRC NYC by calling, 212-780-2697 so that we can inform staff and families with whom that staff may have been in contact. Please call this number ONLY with information about exposures to the Coronavirus (COVID19).

As always our priority is the health and safety of all members of the AHRC NYC community.

For up to date information on AHRC NYC’s response to the Coronavirus, visit our website at www.ahrcnyc.org.

For questions about health and personal issues, call your doctor and/or contact the Department of Health at 888-364-3065 or at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

This message can be viewed as a pdf file in the following languages:

Coronvirus_3.17.20_update_English
Coronvirus_3.17.20_update_Spanish
Coronvirus_3.17.20_update_Chinese

March 16, 2020 Update:

As per the NYC Department of Education guidelines, AHRC NYC schools were closed today and will remain closed through April 20th as well as the Afterschool Recreation Programs that take place in our schools.

COVID-19 Questionnaire for Care of Self or Others

Numbers from Health NY.gov (3/15/2020 @ 6.26 pm)

  • New York City – 329 (+60)
  • New York State – 731 (+116)

World Health Organization / Federal / CDC (3/15/2020)

  • The CDC has updated its website over the past 48 hours to include a new section on “How to Protect Yourself” & “If You Think You Are Sick
  • Additional updates to the CDC site include specific sections relating to Symptoms, Older Adults & Medical Conditions and Preparing Your Family.

Update from NYC (3/15/2020)

Update from NYS / OPWDD (3/15/2020)

  • OPWDD has repurposed the quality@opwdd.ny.gov email address, which will now serve as the central location for providers to notify OPWDD of their plans for programmatic changes, where questions or concerns may be raised to OPWDD about containment-related efforts that impact the delivery of supports, and where providers can communicate with OPWDD about potential plans they are developing.
  • Cuomo has required all insurance companies to waive payments for telehealth visits.
  • OPWDD issued guidance on 3/14/2020, regarding access to ICF
  • Additional guidance has been issued from OPWDD on the use of telehealth services at this time
  • OPWDD has issued guidance supporting New York State Medicaid providers identified as Health Homes

March 13, 2020 Update:

As always AHRC New York City’s highest priority is the health and safety of ALL members of our community.
We at AHRC NYC are staying informed and are in touch with the NYC and State Departments of Health (DOH) and the CDC. We are closely following their recommendations.

In accordance with requirements from regulatory agencies and public health experts, we have instituted a policy for all visitors, including vendors, who want to enter any of our facilities/programs. Visitors will need to respond to the following three questions prior to being given entry:

• Have you traveled to another country in recent weeks? Which country?
• 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?
• Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath)?

If the visitor/vendor answers “YES” to any of the questions, they will not be granted entry.

We do not want to offend anyone, but all people entering one of our programs will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival.

There are still NO plans to close facilities or services, although in order to address the constant changes, we may need to relocate some programs temporarily. We will keep everyone informed.
We have continued our increased cleaning efforts and are:

• continuously sanitizing our facilities
• continue to practice general infection control techniques
• assisting people we support in doing the same.

We continue to request that if anyone feels sick or manifests symptoms of illness – coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, fever – they should stay home and call their doctor. We also request that if anyone lives with or is in close contact with someone who is quarantined or has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus (COVID 19), inform AHRC NYC by calling, 212-780-2697. Please call this number ONLY with information about exposures to the Coronavirus (COVID 19).

As always our priority is the health and safety of all members of the AHRC NYC community.

For up to date information on AHRC NYC’s response to the Coronavirus, visit our website at www.ahrcnyc.org. For questions about health and personal issues, call your doctor and/or contact the Department of Health at 888-364-3065 or visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

Numbers from Health NY.gov, 3/12/2020 @ 4.00pm.

  • New York City – 95 (+42)
  • New York State – 326 (+110)

World Health Organization / Federal / Other (3/12/2020)

High-Risk Countries (*This list is being updated on an ongoing basis as the situation progresses.)

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Rep.
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City
  • Iran
  • China

 

Update from NYC (3/12/2020)

  • The office of the Mayor declares a state of emergency in New York City.
  • Case definitions scope for NYC has been refined, only NYC residents will be included in the NYC numbers.

Update from NYS / OPWDD (3/12/2020)

  • State of emergency declared in Suffolk county.

Update from CDC (3/12/2020)

  • CDC announced Global Outbreak designating the globe as level 2 – Sustained (ongoing) Community Spread.

CONTACT NUMBERS

    • DOH Corona Virus Hotline for health providers – 866-692-3641
    • Department of Health 24/7 Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
    • 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)

STANDING GUIDANCE FROM NYS DOH

  • Stay home if you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Do not shake hands. Instead, wave or elbow bump.
  • 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.
  • Consider telecommuting, biking or walking to work if possible.
  • Consider staggering working hours. For example, instead of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., change some work hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or disinfecting wipes.
  • 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.

March 11, 2020 Update:

Coronavirus Update from AHRC NYC’s CEO, Marco Damiani

AHRC NYC staff can email webmaster@ahrcnyc.org with any questions or concerns that they might have about COVID-19, and its impact on our services and supports.

March 9, 2020 Update:

Members of the AHRC NYC community, your health and safety remain our highest priority!

We just want to again assure you that we at AHRC NYC are staying informed and are in touch with the NYC and State Departments of Health and the CDC. We are closely following their recommendations.

As of today, there are NO plans to close facilities or services.

We have increased our cleaning efforts and are continuously sanitizing our facilities.

We continue to practice general infection control techniques and are assisting people we support in doing the same by:

• Promoting proper hand-washing techniques
• Providing hand sanitizer and Purell type hand wipes
• Covering one’s mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
• Redirecting everyone from touching their eyes, nose or mouth

We request that if anyone feels sick or manifests symptoms of illness – coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, fever – they should stay home and call their doctor.

We ask that all visitors to any of our facilities/programs who may not feel well and have any symptoms of illness DO NOT visit. If people visit and are showing symptoms, they will be turned away.

We do not want to offend anyone, but all people entering one of our programs will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival.

As always, our priority is the health and safety of all members of the AHRC NYC community.

Download this announcement as a pdf file in the following languages:

English
Spanish
Chinese


Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Web Page
New York State Department of Health Coronavirus Web Page
New York City Coronavirus Web Page
US Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus Web Page
COVID-19 News Librarian Aggregator
Coronavirus 101 – Information for Direct Support Professionals

CDC Coronavirus update