COVID-19 Update 4.20.20
Dear Rimland Community,
As part of our commitment to transparency, we must inform you that one client and two employees have tested positive for COVID-19. These individuals were, and are currently, asymptomatic, and in isolation. They have our full support and we are providing them with resources to ensure a safe recovery. We understand that this news can cause panic, but we are here to tell you that we remain focused and calm. Our screening procedures caught this quickly and we have responded with swift action to reduce risk to the larger community. We stand behind our dedicated employees and are looking forward to the day they are cleared to return to work.
It seems like every day we receive new guidance from the CDC, federal government, state government, and local government on what we must do to stay safe during the pandemic. For example, only a few weeks ago we were told that wearing masks was unnecessary, but now we are required to wear them in public. Despite changing recommendations, we believe that the protocols we implemented early on have helped us to reduce the risk to our Rimland community, and we will continue these protocols for as long as necessary. These include twice daily temperature checks, oximeter checks (which monitor oxygen levels and heart rate), daily deep cleans, wearing masks, and increased personal hygiene practices.
We would also like to inform you of new measures we are taking. We have hired a laundry & linen service so that we can increase cleanings at each Rimland location. We have also begun paying for COVID-19 rapid testing of all Direct Support Professionals, Nurses, Associate Executive Directors, and anyone else within our community who needs it. To date, we have been able to test 25% of our employees. Unfortunately, access to testing is challenging due to limited test kit availability and increased demand. That said, this is a top priority for us and we continue to test as much as possible. Costs for this service will exceed $15,000; any contributions you can provide are tremendously helpful.
Although we are experiencing a global traumatic event, there is so much good work being done around the world and at Rimland. In particular, we would like to highlight the truly selfless work that our Direct Support Professionals, Health & Wellness Team Members, and Associate Executive Directors are doing. Their commitment to our clients is truly non-stop, whether it is round the clock onsite wellness checks or ensuring that homes are comfortable and sanitized. Our hard work is paying off, and we will soon be able to enjoy backyard exercise as the weather warms. Additionally, we are extending enhanced pay rates for our Direct Support Professionals and providing personalized meal services for them and their families to help ease their burdens while they work with our clients. It is important now more than ever to prioritize the physical and emotional wellbeing of our employees in order to provide long term support to our organization.
One particularly challenging aspect of coping with this pandemic is not knowing when it will end. It’s hard to say when we can return to “normal” and what that will look like. To that extent, we will continue our protocols and best practices until we are confident COVID-19 no longer poses a threat to our community. This includes telemedicine appointments, redesigning our DT center to promote physical distancing, employee health screenings, and wearing masks in public.
We are optimistic that one day there will be a vaccine, but until that time, we are adapting to the everchanging situation as a unified team. The best ways you can support our team is through moral and financial support to help us meet the needs of our clients and employees. We are grateful for anything you can provide and will continue to keep our heads up and focused on the future.