Statement on the Novel Coronavirus
November 13, 2020
As I am sure you are aware, the COVID positive test rate is starting to increase again in Central New York. As a result, you will be hearing more from myself and other Executive Team members about AccessCNY’s efforts to keep our program participants and staff safe.
Micro Cluster Plan
New York State has begun designating parts of the state with COVID outbreaks as hot spots. Zones range from red, most severe, to orange and yellow. Parts of Central New York are currently in a yellow zone. The AccessCNY Cluster Action Plan indicates actions that will be taken by each AccessCNY program when parts of Central New York are designated as a red, orange or yellow zone.
Staff will be happy to review the plan for your programs with you.
We recognize that these restrictions will be hard on friends, family and those served by AccessCNY, but please know that our first and foremost concern is the health and well being of your loved one.
In the past week, four AccessCNY staff members and one participant have tested positive for COVID. Contact tracing is being completed and thus far we have not identified any spread to other staff or program participants. Please be assured that you will be contacted if it is determined that you or your family member were in contact with anyone who tests positive.
The next few months will challenge all of us and our community; we must remain vigilant to ensure the safety of our friends, neighbors and loved ones.
Paul Joslyn, Executive Director
March 31, 2020
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://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.
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.