Corona Virus Updates - Spring 2020

 

August 27, 2020: Covid Update Best Practices/Basic Guidance for Staff, Individuals and Families

As we continue this journey, requests for more specific information and scenarios come forward on a regular basis. While we sometimes don't have immediate answers, please continue to ask! As we have said many times, we cannot do this in isolation, we will need to partner with you. Together we can and must continue to keep one another safe.

All MDS staff, including our Individual Service Options (ISO), Monadnock Center for Successful Transitions (MCST), Respite, and In Home Support (IHS) programs, have been using the information from the CDC, NH Public Health, the Governor, along with our local healthcare and community leaders to guide our decision-making process. This will continue to be the process as we move forward.

As we have said before, our basic guidelines are these:  Click here for full details on each of these.

  • Wear a mask when you are in public or unable to maintain social distancing.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Clean and disinfect often.

Remember, every action and interaction that you take can impact the health of someone. One staff person or one family member who does not follow these guidelines runs the risk of infecting the individuals they are working with.

We can only keep each other safe and healthy if we work together and practice the recommendations above. As always, as new information is learned, we will adjust our practices and procedures.

On behalf of all of us at MDS, we look forward to being able to gather together again in a safe manner. We cannot do that unless we all do our part. Please be thoughtful of the decisions you make. If you need further information, visit www.cdc.gov or call us at MDS 603-352-1304.

Click here to read latest MDS Covid Best Practices and Basic Guidelines.

 

July 30, 2020: Service Coordination Guidance for Necessary Visits

MDS offices are still closed; we continue to work remotely using Zoom, Facetime and telephone. As we move into August, we are building a plan to resume face-to-face visits and some meetings, as warranted. It is important to emphasize that if remote/virtual meetings and visits are working well, the team should continue this method of communication and visits. If face-to-face sessions are needed, we will follow strict protocols and requirements, as directed by the CDC and NH Public Health and outlined in a detailed plan for Service Coordinators to use. Click here to read this MDS Visit Guidance policy.

July 14, 2020: Best Practices & Basic Precautions

First, our deepest thanks to all of you for the support you have provided to the individuals we serve and to one another. We are truly all in this together. So much has happened over the last few months, and there’s still much we need to do.

We are slowly and cautiously resuming services in this new world. We cannot do this in isolation, and will need to partner with you. Together we can and must continue to keep one another safe.

All MDS staff, including our Individual Service Options (ISO), Monadnock Center for Successful Transitions (MCST), Respite, and In Home Support (IHS) programs are using information from the CDC, NH Public Health, the Governor, as well as local healthcare and community leaders, to guide our decision-making process. This will continue to be the guidance procedure as we move forward.

Remember, every action and interaction you take can impact the health of someone. One staff person, or one family member who does not follow these guidelines runs the risk of infecting the individuals they are working with. We can only keep each other safe and healthy if we work together and practice the recommendations listed below. As always, as new information is learned, we will adjust our practices and procedures.

On behalf of all of us at MDS, we look forward to being able to gather together again in a safe manner. We cannot do that unless we all do our part. Please be thoughtful of the decisions you make. If you need further information, visit www.cdc.gov or call us at MDS 603-352-1304.

BASIC PRECAUTIONS & BEST PRACTICES

Wear a mask/face cover when you are in public or unable to maintain social distancing.
Wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. 
Wear a cloth face cover when in the community, at family events, visiting friends, etc. Face masks should fit your face well and cover your nose and mouth. If using cloth masks, be sure you wash masks daily.  


Practice social distancing. Social distancing is considered 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length).
Remember, you can become infected or spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick!
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
It’s especially important to wash hands:
* Before eating or preparing food
* Before touching your face
* After using the restroom
* After leaving a public place
* After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
* Before and after handling your cloth face covering
* Before and after changing a diaper
* Before and after assisting someone with personal care
* Before and after caring for someone who is sick
* After touching animals or pets
* If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together for 20 seconds and until they feel dry.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Wear a mask and if possible, maintain 6 feet
between the sick person and other household members, especially for people at high risk of getting sick. 
Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.

Clean and disinfect often.
Set a schedule to routinely clean your home and frequently touched surfaces.
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces several times a day, even if they don’t look dirty. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
When surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common household disinfectants will work.

 

June 26, 2020:  Week 16 Update

We're very sorry to hear the news this week of Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center (CMRC) closing. They have served the needs of so many in our community for more than 60 years. Plans are for CMRC to stop services at the campus and all staffed residences by November 1st.

Read the Keene Sentinel article from 6/25: "As Crotched Mountain Closes, Other Agencies Say They'll Step Up"

As the Area Agency for Region V, MDS has strong, long-standing working relationships with Provider Agencies around the state. We have full confidence in them, and are working closely with these organizations to identify new provider agencies, and if needed, new appropriate placement for all affected individuals, so that people can continue to receive quality supports and services.

MDS and its service coordinators are working to figure out next steps for the 11 individuals from Region V who are supported at CMRC, both in adult services and in the school. Our priority is to make their transitions as seamless as possible.

Some good news: Gov. Sununu and his team have decided to extend through July 31st the Long-Term Care Stabilization Stipend (LTCSS) program for full and part-time health care workers doing front line work for Medicaid providers, including developmental disability service providers.

This LTCSS stipend is intended for full and part-time health care workers who work directly with individuals, including DSPs, Job Coaches, Home Providers, Respite Providers, Program Managers and such. As before, employees working at least 30 hours per week of direct care will receive a $300 stipend weekly. Employees working from 8 to 29 hours per week will receive a $150 stipend weekly. Front line workers may not receive more than a total of $300 per week in stipends, even if that worker meets qualifying services for more than two qualified Medicaid providers.

Safety is our priority: As always, we remain fully committed to safe hygiene practices, including frequent hand-washing and surface sanitation, wearing face coverings when in public areas, and maintaining social distance. We encourage everyone, not just our staff, to continue to wear face coverings when out in the community. If you need a mask, please let us know!

Plans to open up our services in the safest possible way are in the works. We'll keep you posted on that as things come together. For the individuals we support, this is being done at a team level, using guidance received from the CDC and the NH Department of Public Health. This includes 14-day self-isolation for any family member from out of state who wishes to visit their loved one.

For individuals receiving services, it is critical to determine each and every individual's readiness to resume services. What is appropriate and safe for one person may not be for someone else, so we continue to review all aspects of support needs to help us move forward safely.

MDS offices continue to be closed to the general public, with staff working remotely via telephone and tele-services.

We cannot stress enough the importance for all of us, especially those in direct contact with individuals, to have heightened vigilance for ourselves when we go out in public or while at home, despite lifted orders.

 

June 11, 2020: Week 14 Update

It’s been more than 100 days since the coronavirus turned our lives upside down. How’s everyone doing? Hope you are staying well and safe.

Gov. Sununu has lifted the Stay At Home order, effective Monday, June 15, and we’ll move into what he calls the Safer at Home phase. What does this mean for us?

First and foremost, we remain committed to safe hygiene practices, including frequent hand-washing and surface sanitation, wearing face coverings when in public areas, and maintaining social distance. We encourage everyone, not just our staff, to continue to wear face coverings when out in the community. If you need a mask, please let us know! We are working on plans to open up our services in the safest possible way for everyone in the next few weeks. We’ll keep you posted on that as things come together. For the individuals we support, this will be done at a team level, using guidance received from the CDC and the New Hampshire Department of Public Health.

For individuals receiving services, it is critical to determine each and every individual’s readiness to resume services. What is appropriate and safe for one person may not be for someone else so we will be reviewing all aspects of support needs to help us move forward safely. How will we figure that out? Risk factors in the living situation, health status, and behavioral factors will be carefully assessed by teams and families, following guidelines like those in the attached assessment form (click here to access form). Where appropriate and safe, some in-person (but socially distanced) meetings are expected to resume soon. Meanwhile we'll continue to work remotely via telephone, Facetime, Skype, Zoom, etc.

Speaking of remote services, how is that going for you? CSNI has developed a brief but important survey for individuals, families and guardians to find out about how their experience has been with tele-services and remote technology. Families, guardians and individuals, please take a few minutes to share your input by completing online survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y5THK7V

As a reminder, MDS offices continue to be closed to the general public, with staff working remotely via telephone and tele-services. From time to time, with permission, certain staff may come to the office, but you must confirm with your supervisor and Priscilla or Marcy ahead of time.

We are making progress instituting safeguards that will allow more staff access the office. Some of the changes will include screening all employees prior to entering the building during business hours, having cleaning products and hand sanitizer readily available in public areas, installation of plexiglass at the reception area, one way signage in hallways (where possible), and using one entrance and exit where possible. Please enter through the main entrance, where you will be screened before entering the office. This procedure includes all MDS-ISO and MCST staff working on the ground floor office on Railroad Street.

The screening consists of temperature checks and specific questions regarding possible COVID exposure -- traveling, signs or symptoms. While at the office, if others are present, you must wear a mask in all common areas and wipe down common spaces that you touch. When you are in your own office, wearing a mask will not be necessary unless you are with someone else. PLEASE, do not come to the office if you have any symptoms. As we move forward, we will add more safeguards like limiting capacity in conference rooms, etc

We can’t stress enough the importance for all of us, especially those who are in direct contact with individuals, to have heightened vigilance for ourselves when we go out in public or while at home, despite lifted orders.

 

 

June 1, 2020: Week 12 Update

It's hard to believe we're into week 12 of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff and individuals continue to practice appropriate safety measures: social and physical distancing, wearing face masks in public, hand-washing, and continual site cleaning. We're still delivering services remotely (phone, zoom, etc.) whenever possible. Things are opening up out there, but the virus is still present, and the Governor has extended the Stay-At-Home 2.0 order through June 15.

Please be aware that we are being extra cautious at locations where multiple individuals reside. In some locations, we must continue to ask that visits are restricted, especially if there is a higher risk for any resident or because of household dynamics. Your continued vigilance is much appreciated.

We had a wonderful opportunity last week to say thank you to our direct care staff who continue to be on the front lines in supporting individuals. Lisa Scoville stopped by to take a picture of several MDS staff for her Unsung Heroes series on Facebook. There just aren't enough thank you's in this world to cover how much we appreciate the dedicated, diligent work of our DSPs, Program Managers, and Home Providers. Merci. Gracias. Thank you!

Looking for a way to get outside, do some good, and possibly get some goodies? Sign up for Virtual Run~Walk~Smile Race & Raffle! For just $10 per person, you, your family, your quaran-team can sign up to take a walk, a run, a hike, even a spin on the treadmill on the weekend of June 13-14. Your $10 contribution goes to the COVID-19 MDS Family Relief Fund and adult dental care for MDS individuals. AND you'll be entered to win one of four RWS tote bags filled with more than $150 in gifts and gift cards. It's easy, it's fun, and you'll be supporting those served by MDS.

Please stay healthy, be safe, and enjoy this summer. Thank you.

 

May 15, 2020:  Week 9 Update

We're happy to report that none of our individuals have tested positive for COVID-19.

As we all know, the Governor's Stay-at-Home 2.0 order is still in effect. Please remember to limit your excursions out, and always wear appropriate face covering in public. Some businesses are starting to open up that have been closed for weeks. We remind everyone to use prudence when going out so that all of us can stay healthy.

This week, the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript ran a wonderful article profiling several local essential workers with disabilities who are still on the job. Click here to read the article online.

This Saturday, May 16, you can round up your shopping at the Monadnock Food Co-op for MDS. Proceeds that day from Round It Up will go to COVID-19 MDS Family Relief and dental care.

We can't let another week go by without thanking our amazing DSPs, Program Managers, Job Coaches and Home Providers who continue to work wonders in the field. Did you get a chance to watch the tribute video? Click here to go to the 3-minute thank-you on YouTube.

 

May 8, 2020 - Week 8 Update

Weeks, months, actually it feels more like a year since we began operating under the shadow of the Coronavirus. I want to thank everyone for staying safe, adhering to guidelines, and keeping positive through all this. We truly are doing this together, while staying apart.

Unfortunately, we're not out of the woods yet. The Governor's Stay-at-Home 2.0 order is still in effect. Please remember to limit your excursions out, and always wear appropriate face covering in public. Click for latest DHHS guidelines.

Our DSPs, Program Managers, Job Coaches, and Home Providers are still hard at work supporting our folks during this stay-at-home situation. We cannot thank them enough, but we did want to try. We put together a short thank-you video for our amazing support teams - give it a whirl! Click here to access the video on YouTube.

MDS office staff continue to work from home except in very specific, restricted situations. We're using teleconferencing, Zoom, etc. to connect with families, individuals, and each other. We're not ready to reopen our offices yet, but we are using CDC guidelines and working with managers and supervisors to create a plan that will allow carefully organized re-entry, on a limited and scheduled basis, when the time is right. We'll keep you posted as this plan develops.

On this occasion of National Nurses Week, we also want to give a shout-out to the nurses who care for individuals served by MDS: Debi, Cay, Lisa, Deana, Lora, Penny, Leslie, Dori, Kathy, Melissa, Pamela, Eileen, Jill, Rose, Sabina, Wayne and many other nurses throughout the state. Thank you.

Stay safe, be well.

 

April 30, 2020: An Update from Mary Anne Wisell

As we move into the month of May, MDS continues to follow CDC and Governor Sununu's COVID-19 guidelines. Those who can are working remotely, using Zoom and teleconferencing for meetings and consultations. We are all practicing social and physical distancing, using face masks when going out, and, of course, being ever-vigilant with hygiene. We are happy to report that, as of April 30, we have no individuals who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The Governor is scheduled to release his plan for the phased re-opening of the New Hampshire economy tomorrow afternoon (May 1), and we will report back to you as its effects on MDS become clear.

Our direct care teams continue their challenging work with amazing grace and commitment. We cannot heap enough thanks and praise on our DSPs, Program Managers, Home Providers, Job Coaches, and, of course, our families. How many ways are there to say thank you? Not enough, but we continue to try to express our gratitude for their efforts.

On the frontline, we continue to use a series of health screening questions and temperature-taking with all direct care staff at the beginning of each shift. Regarding PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), we're doing much better, thanks to the tremendous generosity and support from community members and businesses. However, those supplies go quickly, so please keep them coming!

For the youngest children in our system, our Early Supports & Services (ESS) and Children's Services teams are hard at work doing intakes, consults, and therapy sessions remotely whenever possible. If you know someone with a child who might benefit from a referral, please encourage the parent/guardian to call for an intake. With developmental issues, it's critical to start as early as possible. Now is a great time to contact us about services. Contact Dale Miner at MDS: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 603-352-1304.

An interesting note at this point, for almost 40 years, MDS has been committed to community and home-based services. We are guided by our watchwords: Inclusion - Participation - Mutual Relationships. We train our staff to take people out into the community, to make connections, to join in group activities. We encourage families to do the same with their family members. It's been difficult but SO necessary for us to do a 180-degree turn on that commitment during this pandemic - individuals must stay at home and limit contact. But that doesn't mean we can't continue with our mission. We're defining new ways to stay connected as we go through this situation, learning as we go. Thank you for staying safe, and staying the course.

 

April 23, 2020:  NH Takes the Lead in DSP Stipends 

Some good news for our hard-working direct care staff! The Governor has established the COVID19 Long-Term Care Stabilization Stipend program (LTCSS) to help stabilize front line work of certain Medicaid providers, including developmental disability service providers. 

The program will provide temporary funding to incentivize front line, direct care workers who support some of NH's most vulnerable people, to remain or rejoin this critical workforce during this public health emergency. Click here to read more.

If you have any questions, please contact your provider agency.

 

April 8, 2020:  Continuing to Keep Safe is Imperative

As we move through the fourth week of this crisis, MDS continues to assiduously follow CDC guidelines and the stay-at-home orders in place until May 4th (as of now) by Governor Sununu, including during the Easter and Passover holidays. It is imperative that we protect the health and safety of all individuals and staff during this national health crisis.

Holiday planning? It is our expectation that all individuals and staff will not visit or go out unnecessarily until the stay-at-home order is lifted. If you have questions about this, please contact your Service Coordinator and Program Manager.

Referrals for new services? MDS is still accepting intake referrals, and we continue to do Early Supports & Services evaluations remotely. In fact, it's a good time to apply for services because it's been fairly slow. Contact Dale Miner by email -- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. -- or call 603-352-1304.

Want to help out? MDS welcomes donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including cloth face masks, sanitizers, gloves and face shields. Click here for details, and thank you.

What does Special Ed look like in this time of remote instruction? Join a free online webinar on Friday, April 10 at noon to discuss your questions and your rights. Presented by DRC, ABLE and the Parent Information Center. Click here to register. You can also check out the latest edition of the Pass It On newsletter from PIC and NH Family Voices for more parent information and resources.

 

April 5, 2020: Essential Direct Care Staff Remain Hard at Work  An Op Ed Piece in the Keene Sentinel by Alan Greene, Executive Director

March 31, 2020:  A Huge Thank You to DSPs, Program Managers, Home Providers and Families  A Message from Mary Anne Wisell, Director of Operations

March 27, 2020:  Update on Legislative Activities from Marylouise Alther, MDS Legislative Liaison

 

March 23, 2020:  COVID 19 Update from MDS

As we start Week 2 of our COVID-19 response, we want to assure you that MDS is continually reviewing our practices during the COVID-19 situation, with a focus on the safety of the individuals we serve, and the DSPs and caregivers who work with them. We are committed to physical/social distancing, and require that all our employees are practicing all CDC and DHHS recommendations.

As you know, last week we changed the manner in which we work. Although our office remains closed, we are continuing to work and it seems to be going well so far. We will continue to provide services in the most effective manner possible, and are grateful for your help in keeping us all safe.

A couple of reminders:

• For families and individuals, your point of contact is your Service Coordinator and Program Manager.

• For staff, your supervisor is your go-to person.

• MDS has started a Resource group on Facebook -- MDS Regional Resource and Information Group – to offer helpful information, local resources, and overall good cheer. Any member can submit a resource or post, which will then be approved by an administrator. Please note: this is not a place for complaints or questions about service – contact your Supervisor or Service Coordinator for those. Check it out if you are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2674508159314775/

The following steps will continue through this week:

• MDS offices remain closed, and will continue to be restricted to select personnel. All staff who are able will be asked to work from home.

• Those few who cannot work from home will be allowed to work in the building on a staggered schedule, to be arranged with their supervisor. Everyone must take their temperature prior to entering the building, and follow all recommended hygiene and cleaning protocols.

• All individuals supported by MDS will be asked to stay home wherever possible. If not possible, every attempt will be made to support that person to practice social distancing including avoiding larger gatherings. Again, we ask that staff take their temperatures prior to starting work with individuals.

• When possible, staff will be reassigned to other individuals if the person with whom they work is not in services due to staying home. We are working with our vendors to share resources and ensure consistency in how we work.

• All MDS transportation is suspended.

• All staff working in programs will be asked to stay home if they have a temperature of 100.0 or above or if they have been in direct contact with someone who is being tested for COVID-19.

• Staff are asked to wear masks if they have a cough or sneezing due to allergies or other known reasons.

• Everyone is required to practice hygiene and cleaning protocols, including individuals being supported.

• All meetings are postponed or being scheduled via teleconference or video conference.

• Per recommendations of the Governor, no visitors will be allowed in staffed residences or homes with individuals who are considered to be in frail health or who have compromising medical issues unless there are extenuating circumstances. In addition to this, we strongly discourage visitors at all residences.

Please be assured, we are monitoring this situation closely. At this time, we have NO reports of COVID-19. These steps are all part of our effort to “slow the curve” of contagion and prevent any possible illness by limiting the exposure of all staff and individuals.

Because the situation with COVID-19 is changing so rapidly, we are reviewing plans every few days as we determine next steps.

Update from MDS - Monday, March 16, 2020

There have been many questions and concerns arising from the complex world we are currently experiencing with Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Although each agency needs to review its own protocols and policies, it is important that you all know what MDS is doing to address the issues at hand.

First, we're not panicking. We are being cautious and proactive while we follow the recommendations of the state and CDC. It's important to keep in mind that these strategies are being recommended to help slow down the spread of the virus.

The following explains how we are proceeding at MDS as of today. This is by no means a "long term" plan. In fact, at this point, we are only planning for three days. We will continue reviewing with our management team and the state to make adjustments as needed and as appropriate.

In an effort to support and abide by recommended social distancing, MDS is continually reviewing our practices during the COVID-19 situation. Although we are changing the manner in which we are working, we are still working! We will continue to provide services in the most effective manner possible.

Effective immediately (and for the next three days), we will be implementing the following steps:
• MDS offices will be restricted to select personnel. All staff who are able will be asked to work from home.
• Those who cannot work from home will be allowed to work in the building, but expected to follow all recommended hygiene and cleaning protocols.
• All individuals supported by MDS will be asked to stay home wherever possible. If not possible, every attempt will be made to support that person to practice social distancing including avoiding larger gatherings.
• When possible, staff will be reassigned to other individuals if the person with whom they work is not in services due to staying home.
• All MDS transportation is suspended.
• All staff working in programs will be asked to stay home if they are showing signs of illness.
• Everyone is required to practice hygiene and cleaning protocols, including individuals being supported.
• All meetings will either be rescheduled or occur via teleconference or video conference.
• Per direction of the Governor, NO VISITORS will be allowed in staffed residences or homes with individuals who are considered to be in frail health or who have compromising medical issues. In addition to this, we strongly discourage visitors at all residences.

Please be assured, we are monitoring this situation closely. At this time, we have NO reports of COVID-19. These steps are all precautionary to ensure we continue to support “slowing the curve” and prevent any possible illness by limiting the exposure of all staff and individuals. Because the situation with Covid-19 is changing so rapidly, we will be reviewing this plan in three days to determine next steps.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your supervisor or your Service Coordinator, either by email or by calling 603-352-1304.

 

A Message from Alan Greene, MDS Executive Director, March 14, 2020

What makes this disease different? Over the past couple of decades there have been a number of scary diseases that ended up not overwhelming our health care systems: bird flu, swine flu, west Nile virus, ebola, SARS, etc. None of these diseases overwhelmed our nation’s ability to handle them. And, ultimately did not kill as many people as initially feared.

Unfortunately, because of two factors, COVID-19 appears to be different. The first factor is that it has been categorized as “highly contagious”. It began in China, but after appearing in other countries in January it has spread quickly and now is in most of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled it a pan epidemic. The second factor is that, while its symptoms are mild in most people, about 20% of those people who contract it have severe symptoms. Older people and people with underlying health conditions are at greatest risk of developing severe symptoms. I have read that it is fatal in an estimated 2.6% of overall cases. This works out to about 13% of people who develop a severe case are projected to die. If our healthcare professionals have enough time, they may be able to reduce these numbers. However, many of the people we support are at great risk of developing severe symptoms.

So, what can we do? First, everyone should engage in behavior that “flattens the curve”. This means to slow the spread of the disease, in other words to reduce the number of people who are sick at the same time. If COVID-19 spreads too quickly, our health care providers will be overwhelmed by the sheer task of caring for people. Slowing the spread means better, more comprehensive care for those who have developed a severe case.

How do we flatten the curve? All the things that you have seen or read in the past few weeks about washing hands, covering a cough, etc. should be followed. Use common sense, avoid crowds. I have seen a recommendation to stay at least six feet away from others – especially people for whom you don’t personally know their health status.

Some of the safeguards we at MDS have put in place:
• We are encouraging each team to review the risks for people they support, and if someone falls into a higher risk category they are instructed to proceed with caution, such as not having unnecessary visitors.
• We are encouraging people who can to do something like take walks in the park or away from large crowds, or something else that avoids large group activities, etc. to do so.
• At this point, we're encouraging Service Coordinators to hold most meetings via teleconference, ZOOM, or Skype.
• We are directing all staff (including DSPs) who experience the following symptoms – fever, cough or shortness of breath – to not report to work and to contact their primary care physician.
• Homes are being thoroughly and regularly cleaned with bleach or alcohol.
• Our offices are now posted with a notice requesting people who feel sick to not enter the building. This notice asks all other people entering the building to immediately use hand sanitizer at the receptionist’s deck.

Things are changing daily and we can expect our safeguards to change as well. We are in close communication with our provider agencies and N.H.’s Department of Health and Human Services. As such, we receive the latest information and guidance regarding best health practices and share it with our agencies.

I have every confidence that our approach will reduce as much as possible the impact on the people we support. And we will do our part to “flatten the curve” and not overwhelm our health care professionals.

Here are some resources that may be helpful:

Governor Sununu has set up a NH hotline (call 211) to field questions or concerns regarding this issue, or you can visit the NH website for latest updates: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/

Ancor (a national organization that supports D.D. agencies)    https://www.ancor.org/covid-19

Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov     http://www.ready.gov/

CDC Situation Summary    http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html

COVID-19 RESOURCES

Questions about COVID-19?  CALL 2-1-1 
Phone: 1-866-444-4211   TTY: 603-634-3388

State of NH COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19

Face Masks per NH Public Health/DHHS

City of Keene CV Response Site

Cheshire Medical Center CV Site

Monadnock Hospital CV Site

Dartmouth-Hitchcock CV Site

How to Use Zoom Safely

Relias: CV Free Resources & Training for Healthcare Professionals, Families and Individuals

Other Resources

Family Support Resources

Disability Benefits Resources

Employment Resources

Transportation Resources

Housing Resources

NH Family Voices Maneuvering Through the Maze Resource Guide (updated January 2019)
Statewide guide to resources for people with physical, developmental, mental health and chronic health conditions and their families.

Keene Rotary Family Resource Guide (Cheshire County)

The River Center’s FACT Book Online
Local community resource guide for those living in the eastern Monadnock Region.