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COVID-19

April Update

Now that most people at CVL who chose to receive a COVID-19 vaccination have done so, we want to provide further guidance about the policy of the agency moving forward.  Our approach has always been guided by the recommendations of medical and public health professionals.  We have remained committed to doing all in our power to protect the health and safety of those we serve.  Politics and economic considerations have not entered into our planning and response strategies.  With that said, being fully vaccinated does mean that the way we approach our work and interact with each other will be changing.  The following is a summary of the most recent recommendations from the CDC.  These are the guidelines we will follow as an agency.
 
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
 
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.  Remember, we are honoring our duty to protect others in addition to wanting protection for ourselves.
 
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
 
What You Can Start to Do if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.

·       If international travel is in your plans you will need to check the most recent CDC recommendations and follow them.

  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

 
What You Should Keep Doing for now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. 
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.  
  • Those not yet fully vaccinated will need to continue to complete the daily health check and fill out the web form documenting this.
  • Those who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to complete the daily health check, but should continue to monitor for any signs of illness.

 
What We Know and What We’re Still Learning

  • We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
    • We’re still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
  • We’re still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
  • Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
  • We’re still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
  • As we know more, based on CDC update, CVL will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Until we know more about those questions, everyone—even people who’ve had their vaccines—should continue taking steps to protect themselves and others when recommended.
 

Waiver Service Recipients Now Eligible for Vaccine

The Indiana Family & Social Services Administration has announced that individuals with disabilities between the ages of 16-49 who receive home- and community-based waiver services are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  All of the vaccines that are currently approved for use have been proven to be highly effective.  This is great news as we continue our ongoing efforts to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of those we support.  
The process will be facilitated by waiver case managers who will be getting in touch with each individual they serve.  They will gather the necessary information and submit it to the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, who will then pass it along to the Indiana Department of Health.  IDOH will then send a unique link to each individual through which they can schedule their appointment time and location.
While we cannot coordinate this effort directly, all of us at CVL are ready to support those we serve in getting vaccinated if they so choose.  This is an important step in protecting ourselves and our communities. 
Please see the following FSSA announcement for more details regarding this initiative:
 

Vaccine eligibility for individuals with disabilities receiving home-and community-based waiver services
Late yesterday, the Indiana Department of Health announced that individuals with disabilities ages 16 – 49 who receive home-and community-based waiver services are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes individuals on the Aged & Disabled, Family Support, and Community Integration & Habilitation Waiver. This expanded eligibility includes nearly 19,000 individuals and is being made possible through our on-going partnership with the Indiana Department of Health.
Before an individual can make an appointment, their case/care manager will submit their information to the Indiana Department of Health. The individual, or their designated support person, will then receive a text message and/or email in the near future with a link unique to them that can only be used to sign up for a vaccine appointment. Specifically, the process includes the following steps:

  • Eligible individuals will be contacted by their case/care manager to confirm their interest in receiving vaccine and to gather information needed to provide the individual with access to scheduling their vaccine appointment; the information will be shared with the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services or Division of Aging as it is gathered.
  • Daily, DDRS/DA will compile the information received and upload it to IDOH.
  • Based on that upload, the system will generate and send the individual, or their designated support person, a unique link that they can use to schedule their appointment at a time and location convenient to their schedule.

Case managers and care managers have already begun their outreach activities with over 4,000 individuals contacted to date. For eligible individuals and their families, if you have not yet heard from your case/care manager, please know they will be in touch very soon. For our provider network, we appreciate, in advance, your efforts to coordinate and collaborate with individuals and case/care managers to ensure individuals are supported in scheduling and accessing their vaccine appointments.
We hope this information is helpful. Should you have questions, please use the following:

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
402 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

 

 
 

 
 
 

Vaccine Now Available

 

As we have been relaying to you, the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) developed Indiana’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Plan.  As part of their phased approach, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) were included in Phase 1A, which means that DSPs are eligible to receive the vaccine as part of health care workers. We have been waiting for the IDOH to determine that vaccine is available for DSPs as they have worked to distribute them to those with higher priority on the list.  We are pleased to announce the Indiana Department of Health has informed us that Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are now able to schedule to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine!

 

Please follow the link below for instructions on how to register, schedule and receive the vaccine.  The page you will be directed to has restricted access, so you must be logged into the website in order for it to work properly.

We continue to wish you a healthy and safe New Year and hope that this early opportunity for vaccine access contributes to those outcomes for both you and those you support.

CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS TO SCHEDULE A VACCINE

 

 

COVID-19 Vaccine News

The Indiana Department of Health (DOH) is developing and managing Indiana’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Plan.  We are pleased to share with you that as part of this phased approach, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are included in Phase 1A, which means that DSPs are eligible to receive the vaccine as part of health care workers. When the IDOH determines that DSPs are eligible for the vaccine, they will send communication that will include instructions and link for DSPs to register to receive the vaccine. We will then relay this information to CVL DSPs so that you can register to get the vaccine.  
 
While CVL is not currently going to require the vaccine, we recommend it for your protection and the protection of those we serve .  Attached you will find a letter and flyer from DOH providing more details about the process for vaccine distribution. 
 
 Here are several important considerations to keep in mind: (Sources: Adapted from DOH)
 
1. This first round of vaccine is allocated to healthcare personnel who in their line of work have the potential for exposure to COVID-19 patients or infectious material. We are anticipating that we will not initially have enough vaccine available to vaccinate everyone who meets the criteria. Therefore, the Indiana Vaccine Advisory Committee has further prioritized healthcare personnel based on individuals who provide direct care to the most vulnerable populations and in their line of work have a high likelihood of contact with COVID-positive patients and who are integral to healthcare structure and the response to the pandemic. 
 
2. You will be notified that vaccine is available and you have met criteria for prioritization when you receive a notice from CVL with a link to the registration and scheduling platform.
 
3. You will be asked to bring an ID or some form of verification that you work in health care. This will be in the form of a letter from CVL that will send with your notice above.
 
4. You will be assigned to one of the 50 hospital vaccine administration site(s) based on your county of residence. For some counties, there will only be one option. For others, there may be several options from which to choose. 
 
5.  There will be no charge to the person receiving vaccine. However, insurance information will be collected. Federal guidelines (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-vax-ifc- 4.pdf) ensure that no one is charged any out-of-pocket funds for the administration of the vaccine. There will be no co-pay and no charge to those who do not have insurance. The vaccine is free, but insurance may be charged for the $28 administration fee. 
 
These vaccines require a second dose, in 21 (Pfizer) or 28 (Moderna) days. The second dose is imperative for the appropriate immune response. Be prepared to sign up for your second dose immediately following your initial vaccination. 
 
Please visit https://coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine for updated information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana. The state Department of Health will continue to provide updates on vaccine allocation as more information becomes available.

 
We are sending this information now so that you have can watch for the next communication to register to get the vaccine be prepared to act.  
 
Thank you for all you done this past year to protect and serve those who look to CVL for services.  We are looking forward to taking this next step to putting the COVID threat behind us.  
 
Best Regards, 
The CVL Team

A Practical Guide for Implementing the CVL COVID-19 Response

For some time, we have been accustomed to providing support to the individuals with whom we work in fairly typical ways.  Though we try to remain engaged and alert, it is easy to fall into routines and patterns.  The current international health crisis demands that we stretch out of our comfort zones and implement more creative ways to ensure the health and safety of our folks.  Many of them may not fully understand the situation and its risks.  They may become bored, restless, or frustrated.  They may also become fearful and stressed.  It is our job to be prepared to offer support across the full spectrum of possible reactions we may encounter.  The information contained in this resource is meant to be specific and practical so that you can use it in your own life and be ready to share what is needed to meet the needs of the people you work with on a daily basis.
 
First, some CVL-specific practical changes in the way we do things:
 
1. First and foremost, if you are experiencing any symptoms or fear you may have been in close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus, do not perform any service visits.  Notify your supervisor and self-isolate as recommended by the CDC.  Though this may be inconvenient and disruptive to your life, we must never put those we support at risk by knowingly transmitting COVID-19.
 
2. Suspend monthly supervision visits, if possible, until at least April 15th at which time we can re-evaluate. It is possible to do a virtual home visit over the phone. You may use the same questions and discussions you would typically have face to face. Ask the IC to take a picture of the med log and text it for our records.  Service visits will continue without interruption at this time unless changes are requested by the individual or family served.
 
3. Regarding quarterly and annual meetings, please call your WCM and let them know you are willing to call in and keep in close communication through emails, but not attending in person unless circumstances warrant in-person attendance and it is approved by your director.  
 
4. For the time being we are suspending taking on any new folks as service recipients. Our focus will be on supporting those with whom we already work.
 
5. Hour for hour folks are strongly encouraged to use good judgment and wash hands often as directed by the CDC. Do not plan to go out into crowded areas of the community with those you support unless absolutely necessary.  Keeping the recommended social distance from others is everyone’s best protection against infection.  
 
All of these actions will greatly reduce the opportunities for infection and keep the folks we serve safer. The number of infections will increase, but if we can slow this down, folks will have a better chance of getting medical services if needed as, hopefully, the system won’t be overrun.
In addition to these CVL-specific recommendations, here is some helpful general information from the American Red Cross:
 
LIMIT THE SPREAD OF GERMS AND PREVENT INFECTION
The Red Cross recommends following common sense steps to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus.
·       Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
·       Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
·       Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
·       Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
·       Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
·       Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; throw used tissues in the trash. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, not your hands.
·       Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, computers, phones, keyboards, sinks, toilets and countertops.
·       If surfaces are dirty, clean them - use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Full information on how to disinfect found here.
·       Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
 

GET YOUR HOUSEHOLD READY
There are things you can do right now to be ready for any emergency, and many of these same tips will help you prepare as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve in the U.S.
·       Have a supply of food staples and household supplies like laundry detergent and bathroom items, and diapers if you have small children.
·       Check to make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications, and have other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
·       Know how your local public health agency will share information in your community and stay informed. Find more information here.
·       Learn how your children’s school or daycare, and your workplace will handle a possible outbreak. Create a plan in the event of any closings, event cancellations or postponements.
·       If you care for older adults or children, plan and prepare for caring for them, should they or you become sick.
·       Help family members and neighbors get prepared and share the safety messaging with those who may not have access to it.

According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Call your doctor if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms.
 
WHO IS AT A HIGHER RISK?
COVID-19 is a new disease, which means scientists and public health experts are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may spread in the U.S.
Early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this virus. This includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or a serious medical condition, it is extra important for you to take actions to avoid getting sick.
·       Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
·       When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
·       Avoid crowds as much as possible.
·       Stock up on supplies.
 
o   Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
o   If you cannot get extra medications, consider using a mail-order option.
o   Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
o   Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible.
 
 
STEPS TO HELP COPE
People may be experiencing many different emotions like fear, anger, confusion and disbelief. These are all normal feelings in this type of situation. Their reactions appear in different ways, not only in the way someone feels, but in the way they think and what they think about; their sleeping habits, how they go about daily living; and the way they interact and get along with others. Here are a few steps to help people cope:
·       Stay informed through trusted resources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but limit exposure to media coverage, especially for children.
·       Spend more time with family and friends and offer your support.
·       Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
·       Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as fear, anger, frustration and anxiety.
·       Encourage children to express their feelings and thoughts. Reassure them about their safety.
·       Relax your body often by doing things that work for you—take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or pray, or engage in activities you enjoy.
·       Pace yourself between stressful activities and do something fun after a hard task.

Many people have experience coping with stressful life events and typically feel better after a few days. Others find that their stress does not go away as quickly as they would like, and it influences their relationships with their family, friends and others. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help.
If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing some of the feelings and reactions listed below for two weeks or longer, this may be a sign that you need to reach out for additional assistance.
·       Crying spells or bursts of anger
·       Difficulty eating
·       Difficulty sleeping
·       Losing interest in things
·       Increased physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches
·       Fatigue
·       Feeling guilty, helpless or hopeless
·       Avoiding family and friends

If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).