Statement on the Novel Coronavirus

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Dear Families,

In the last few days we’ve been notified that two people associated with AccessCNY have a confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We quickly activated protocols defined by our local health department. The individuals are receiving care and in quarantine following protocols from the Onondaga County health department.

We are working with the health department to identify those who may have come in contact with the individuals, determine their level of risk, and reach out to each of them to ensure appropriate action is taken to monitor their health and enact necessary precautions. AccessCNY is also working to support potentially impacted individuals, family and staff.

We know that a diagnosis of COVID-19 at AccessCNY will heighten anxiety. I can assure you, the health and safety of our community, staff and the people we support remains our top priority. We continue to emphasize best practices for infection control and have implemented enhanced procedures to continuously sanitize our facilities.

Our thoughts are with these members of the AccessCNY family.

The safety of our program participants and staff is our top priority. We are strictly following the guidance and direction of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health, as well as our oversight agencies (Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Office of Mental Health, and the State Education Department).

As of this writing many AccessCNY programs have closed or have changed how they operate. Given the fluidity of the situation we expect more changes to come. Please visit: https://www.accesscny.org/programclosures/ for the most up to date list.

All AccessCNY administrative buildings have closed and are only operating with essential personnel.  Phone lines are still open and messages are being checked regularly.

All AccessCNY program sites, including residential sites are closed to visitors. Only staff and participants will be permitted in these locations. Our only goal is to protect the health of those we serve and we appreciate your support to this end. We are working to ensure loved ones can stay in contact through alternative methods.

As an added safety measure, all staff will be required to answer questions about their risk of having or having come in contact with the coronavirus/COVID-19 before entering an agency site. Any staff entering a work site other than their own site will be required to sign in. If necessary, this will allow us to track who has come in contact with participants and staff at a given location.

AccessCNY’s Executive Team continues to meet daily to ensure those we serve are safe and protected. Staff are getting updates on a near daily basis.

We appreciate your cooperation in ensuring the health and safety of those we serve. Please monitor our website, www.accesscny.org for future updates.

Stay Well,

Paul Joslyn
Executive Director


How the Virus Spreads

The novel Coronavirus spreads in a similar manner to the flu and the common cold. The primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes in close proximity (approximately 6 feet) to others.

It is possible that the novel Coronavirus can live on surfaces for several hours and be spread if an individual touches an infected surface and then touches their face. However, medical professionals don’t believe this is the main method of transmission.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Others

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), the best way to avoid the spread of the novel Coronavirus is to practice the same basic preventative measures used to avoid the flu:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue
    in the trash.  If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, counter tops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially: after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Mental Health & the Novel Coronavirus

While the media plays an important role in keeping the public informed about public health, over-consumption of frightening news reports can have a negative effect on mental health. Currently, there is no need to panic.

If you feel your mental health is being negatively effected by the Coronavirus, don’t be afraid to seek mental health support.

Additional Resources

The Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University all have an abundance of resources you can use to stay up to date about the novel Coronavirus.