The Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD) has been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak with the guidance of the Shelby County Public Health Department, including information from the Ohio Department of Health and 5he Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Health authorities have indicated that the situation is evolving and we need to do all we can to inform those we serve and ourselves of measures we can take to prevent the spread of the virus. With this communication, we will outline more detail on our planning and guidelines. We will continue to follow the guidelines from the Shelby County Public Health Department.
Symptoms of the Virus
Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness that can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. If a person has been in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks and develops symptoms, they are advised to call their doctor.
Continued education on every day preventative measures, similar to flu prevention, is very important. It is important that we continue to focus our efforts on educating the individuals who have developmental disabilities, their families, staff and providers. Those measures to stop the spread of germs are:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stop handshaking – use other methods of greeting.
In Office Work
All employees working in the office or school buildings must wear a facial covering while not working in their office area (walking to the bathroom, copy machine, etc.). Facial coverings and PPE may be different dependent on the program employees are working in at the time. Employees should observe social distancing protocols and utilize provided hand-sanitizing stations.
Employees must take their temperatures at home. If the temperature is above 100.4, the employee must stay home and contact their supervisor. If the employee has any of the above symptoms, they should not report to the office.
The governor has issued a state-wide mandate for facial coverings in businesses and in public settings.
All employees must wear a face-covering while they are in an open area of the building or within close proximity of another person. Visitors are strongly encouraged to wear a face-covering per the governor’s order.
As the information evolves, we want people to have the most up to date information. This is available on the home page of the SCBDD Website (www.shelbydd.org), where there is a link to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We will also continue to send out information to be included on our Facebook page as well.
Our facilities employees will continue to implement disinfectant protocols in all of our buildings. In addition, we ask individuals, families, staff and providers to also practice every day safe cleaning protocols in their homes, classrooms, work areas, etc. Staff are responsible for disinfecting after in-person meetings.
We will continue to follow the Health Department’s guidance related to attendance at large gatherings. We will make decisions on individual events based on these guidelines. We are defining large gatherings or meetings as those that include 10 or more people. We encourage individuals to make the choice that is best for their own personal situations with consideration of appropriate social distancing. Any in-person meeting must follow social-distancing and facial covering recommendations.
If necessary, decisions to suspend preschool will only be made after consultation with appropriate Health Officials. If classes are closed temporarily, families will be informed and provided alternative at-home educational suggestions.
Quarantine decisions will be made by the Health authorities. If a person has been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 or thinks he/she has been exposed and ‘Self Quarantine’ is considered, we will consult with the Health Department. Exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of someone with the virus for longer than 15 minutes. Human Resources is available to discuss options if a quarantine is necessary.
Certain staff are required to make home visits. To make home visits, staff are to contact the family or person 24 hours prior to the visit to verify that they are not experiencing flu-like symptoms or were recently diagnosed with the flu or other contagious disease. If so, the appointment must be rescheduled for 14 days later. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible. Staff should also utilize the SCBDD building for visits as they are able. Employees will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment.
If there are other concerns or questions regarding home visits, staff are asked to direct the question to their Supervisor. Health authorities will be asked for their guidance.
Skype, Facetime, Zoom, Conference Calls and other tools will be considered by staff with Supervisor approval with the understanding that HIPAA requirements will need to be followed.
Staff of SCBDD are fortunate that travel to other states or countries is not necessary. We will encourage staff and supervisors to use their judgment related to professional development conferences and we will discourage travel outside of the county for the immediate future. Employees traveling for personal leave may be asked to quarantine if they travel to ‘red states’.
We will continue to use technology as needed to maintain the operation of the organization.
Contact the individual or family that you are meeting with to verify that they are not experiencing flu-like symptoms or were recently exposed to COVID. A health questionnaire will be used.
Signs will be posted throughout the buildings to remind visitors to use hand sanitizer, wear a mask and to wash their hands.
Following all meetings, the staff who coordinated the meeting is responsible for following posted cleaning protocols.
Recognizing that this situation is evolving, guidelines cannot cover every possibility. Individual circumstances and decisions will be required by individuals, staff and supervisors. We ask for everyone to continue to consider others and especially those we serve when making decisions that are in the best interest. Basic common sense is generally our best guide.
In addition to the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities webpage (www.shelbydd.org), which has a link to our Health Department page on the Coronavirus, additional information can be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
As advised by our Health Department, it is important that we do not panic or create panic in those we serve. At the same time, we want people to be informed. For direct factual information or assurances, the Ohio Department of Health can be contacted at 1-833-427-5634 anytime between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
We appreciate the dedication of providers, stakeholders and our staff as we continue our efforts to promote safety. We will continue to monitor and advise accordingly as information and recommendations change.
Leigh Anne Wenning
Champaign County Board of DD
Shelby County Board of DD