March 6, 2020 Message
As you have probably heard, three cases of Covid-19 have been identified in Montgomery County. All three people had recently traveled outside the US and have been isolated in their homes.
The Arc Montgomery County is closely following informational guidance from the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration, and Maryland State Department of Education. We have already started planning for situations in which we may need to close program sites, self-isolate, or quarantine.
For KFICCC and After All, we will follow the lead of Montgomery County Public Schools in terms of closing due to Covid-19 outbreaks. This means that if MCPS decides it is in the best interest of the public to close, we will also close KFICCC and After All to families.
For Employment & Day, we may need to temporarily change or discontinue services based upon the status of the employment site, or in the event public locations in Montgomery County are closed. People who receive employment or day services should stay home if they are sick.
For Community Living, we may need to ask families who are able to take their loved one home, if that will be in the best interest of the person supported. Homes may need to be combined, or people may need to be isolated in their bedroom if they are sick. We are already working to create new staffing patterns to maximize coverage and procedures to protect both the people we support and our employees.
For Personal Supports, we may need to temporarily discontinue services, in order to pull staff for coverage in our Community Living homes. We will not provide Personal Supports to individuals who are sick.
We have provided guidance to our employees about steps they should take to help keep people we support healthy, as well as to keep themselves healthy, which include frequent cleaning of surfaces and reminders to practice Universal Precautions. In addition, employees who are returning from travel to countries identified on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website as at risk for Covid-19 community transmission will not be cleared to return to work until at least 14 days after returning to the United States.
The best prevention is staying healthy. In general, people can protect themselves and others against respiratory viruses by following these precautions.
- Wash your hands frequently using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home from your work or day program.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
We will share additional updates with families and people supported through email addresses and through posts to this page.