On Sunday, March 22, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a stay-at-home order for all Ohioans. There are exceptions for human services and other essential businesses and organizations. Hamilton County DD Services and the work we do is considered essential to supporting people with developmental disabilities. Our services may look different as we all get through this, but we are here to support you.
On Saturday, March 21, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued an order closing day programs that support people with developmental disabilities, in settings with more than 10 people. We are sharing information and supporting providers to ensure needed services for those with developmental disabilities continue during this closure. The Ohio Department of DD has additional resources available regarding COVID-19.
We continue to monitor the fast-moving situation with the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has declared the virus a global pandemic. The state of Ohio, Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati have declared public emergencies in the wake of COVID-19, and we are following guidance from local health officials by implementing policies to reduce risks.
At Hamilton County DD Services, we serve many people who are especially vulnerable to a virus like COVID-19, so we have a responsibility to do everything we can to make sure we’re not putting people at risk. Haga clic aquí para información en Español
Our response plan:
- Beginning on Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3, our office buildings will be operating with limited access and our schools will be closed. We will continue to assess the situation throughout this period and will extend these measures if necessary.
- During this time, we will also be scheduling intensive sanitizing of Support Center, Kingsley, and Bobbie B. Fairfax and Margaret B. Rost schools, especially high-traffic surfaces and touchpoints.
- HCDDS employees will continue to work from home as much as his or her role permits, only coming into the building when absolutely necessary. Our buildings will not be open for visitors or meetings. By reducing the number of people in our buildings, we hope to lower everyone’s risk of exposure.
- Our staff will be conducting meetings by phone or online as much as possible. If you need to meet with an HCDDS employee in person, please reach out to them to determine how you can accomplish the meeting virtually.
- In an effort to protect individuals, staff and our community, we have asked providers to suspend non-essential community outings and activities. This may mean that a provider temporarily isn’t assisting an individual as they work on an outcome/action step. We also are recommending that prior to visiting an individual in their home, that you reach out to the individual/provider and see if there is another alternative to an in-person meeting (i.e. FaceTime). If you have questions about your services, reach out to your SSA. If you’re a provider and have questions reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are postponing any HCDDS-led information sessions that may bring together large groups of people.
- We will monitor this situation closely, adhering to recommendations from public health officials, and update our stakeholders as needed.
What you can do:
- Be mindful and intentional about your personal hygiene etiquette. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand-sanitizer, and avoid touching your face.
- Stay home when you are sick and avoid large gatherings.
- Create a plan in case you, a family member, a caregiver, or an employee is sick.
- Stay connected to updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, and Hamilton County Public Health. You can also sign up for COVID-19 notifications through the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency opt-in alert system.
While these measures are important to prevent illness and spreading COVID-19, it may leave you or your loved ones feeling very lonely, worried, bored, or just in need of a friendly person with whom talk. The HCDDS A-LIFE team is willing to talk to all those who want to during this time. Click here to learn more.
- Check the Provider Resources page on our website for documents, links, and the latest information from HCDDS. Email email@example.com with questions.
- We know staffing is already difficult for many providers. Plan for possible spread of COVID-19 to ensure your agency is ready to respond and can support everyone you serve, should staffing shortages become worse.
- Sanitize facilities, transportation, and other high-traffic areas.
- Encourage your staff to practice good hygiene and prevention practices with frequent hand washing. You can review the CDC information for healthcare personnel by clicking here.
- The Ohio Department of DD has created regional support teams to help with issues such as health and safety, early intervention, ISPs, service coordination, and more. They also issued specific guidance for day services providers, direct support professionals and more. Find the latest information here.
- We will share as much information as we can with providers. Sign up for the Provider Newsletter here.
The Ohio Department of Health has opened a public hotline on the coronavirus, which is available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
For a list of food assistance, other resources and information for people with disabilities, click here.