Vodec’s Council Bluffs, Urbandale Sites Remain Closed through April 30
Vodec’s day services sites in Council Bluffs and Urbandale will remain closed through April 30 in accordance with new orders issued by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds April 2. COVID-19 updates will continue to be provided as new information becomes available.
To: Consumers in Vodec group homes or in contracted shared living or host homes
From: Steve Hodapp, Vodec CEO
Re: Temporary change re: visitors and home visits effective April 3, 2020
Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, Vodec is monitoring and staying up to date using Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports and State recommendations. Our primary concern is the health and safety of those we serve.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become necessary to change our practice of allowing visitors to our group home settings and allowing home visits without restriction. We have to keep in mind the health and safety of our consumers and the employees who serve them in our group home settings. This change in practice is similar to that which area nursing homes are presently implementing in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective as of noon April 3, 2020, no visitors will be allowed at group homes in Vodec’s control – this means a residential setting of four or fewer consumers receiving up to 24/7 services by Vodec residential employees. Visitors include friends or family of consumers and employees, vendors, and others unless deemed by Vodec otherwise. Prohibited activities include a visitor taking a consumer on an outing for a period of less than overnight. An example of an exclusion is emergency responders entering a group home to respond to an emergency.
Effective as of noon on April 3, 2020, Vodec asks that home visits be suspended. A home visit is taking a consumer from the group home for a full day and could include one or more consecutive overnights away from the group home. A consumer who would be taken from the group home for the purpose of a home visit must be prepared to stay away from the group home for up to two weeks if a quarantine situation was presented. This would mean the person taking the consumer also would need to be prepared to care for the consumer for up to two weeks.
Alternatives to Visitors or Home Visits
We encourage consumers and their family members or friends to maintain contact using alternative methods, including but not limited to phone calls and virtual visits using FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or some other source. Regular contact with an upbeat tone will be helpful for all parties, no doubt.
Outings in the community will be kept to a minimum and limited to required activities. For example, a Vodec employee is not typically allowed to shop for groceries for a consumer. The consumer should be doing his or her own shopping. To the extent reasonable, this will continue unless otherwise halted.
Iowa Host Home | Nebraska Shared Living Settings
Operators of these settings serving consumers of Vodec are not employees of Vodec so are not bound by this change in practice for Vodec group homes. BUT, adhering to this changed practice to the extent possible would be appreciated for the safety of the consumers in these homes and may be in the best interest of other inhabitants of the homes.
These changes noted above are intended to be temporary. The duration will depend upon the length of time the health and safety of consumers and employees are at risk. Unless otherwise notified, the duration will extend while the COVID-19 spread is considered to be pandemic.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Vodec’s Council Bluffs, Urbandale Sites Remain Closed Through April 7
As ordered by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in her second Proclamation of Public Health Disaster Emergency March 26, Vodec’s day services sites in Council Bluffs and Urbandale will remain closed through April 7.
Vodec’s day services and prevocational programs in Omaha remain open for consumers who choose to attend. The Omaha site is following the Centers for Disease Control recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19, which include gathering in groups of 10 or smaller and maintaining a physical distance of six feet.
COVID-19 updates will continue to be provided as new information becomes available.
Iowa. Gov. Kim Reynolds Recognizes Work of Community Providers, Healthcare Workers
From the Iowa Association of Community Providers Weekly Membership Resources e-newsletter:
In her press conference today, Governor Reynolds recognized the incredible work of community providers and healthcare workers. Providers of all types have been working together to advocate to be sure community providers are recognized in their essential role keeping Iowans safe and healthy during the pandemic. Thanks to each of you who have contacted your elected officials.
Vodec to Close Council Bluffs and Urbandale Sites for Two Weeks
This morning, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a state of public health disaster forcing the closures of establishments across the state. This will impact Vodec’s Iowa day services sites in Council Bluffs and Urbandale effective March 18 through March 31.
Starting Wednesday, March 18, Vodec cannot accept consumers for day services at its Council Bluffs and Urbandale day services sites. Vodec management is discussing alternative methods of providing day services.
Family members/guardians will be notified of updates via text message or email. If you need to update your phone number or email address, call 712.328.2638 for the Council Bluffs site and 515.777.2114 for the Urbandale site.
Updates also will be posted on our Facebook page.
All Vodec sites (7110 F Street in Omaha, 612 S. Main Street in Council Bluffs and 4406 114th Street in Urbandale) remain open, and day services at each site continue as usual.
In the advent of a closure, family members/guardians will be notified via text message or email. If you need to update your phone number or email address, call 402.455.4648 for the Omaha site, 712.328.2638 for the Council Bluffs site and 515.777.2114 for the Urbandale site.
Any closure information also will be posted on our Facebook page.
At Vodec, the health of our consumers and staff is of critical importance. We are currently communicating with the local boards of education, health departments, and state departments of health and human services to update our emergency plans for your community.
Much is unknown about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and this plan is being updated as information becomes available. Updates are being shared with staff, parents, consumers and students. We are adapting our attendance and sick leave policies for consumers and staff members. We are assessing consumers who are at the greatest risk to COVID-19 and are working with their teams to take extra precautions to limit their exposure. We’ve developed and implemented a monitoring system to alert local health departments about large increases in absenteeism. We have created ways to ensure continued residential services, day programs and community employment sites.
Below is a general Q&A about COVID-19, Vodec’s response to COVID-19, a Q&A designed to help consumers understand COVID-19 and additional resources. If you have questions about Vodec’s response to COVID-19, email email@example.com.
Q: What is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Q: How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- Shortness of breath
Q: How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are unavailable, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or bodily fluids on them.
Vodec’s Response to COVID-19
Q: What is Vodec doing to minimize the risk of exposure?
- Vodec is actively encouraging sick employees and consumers to stay home.
- Vodec is sanitizing conference rooms after each use.
- Vodec is providing Kleenex, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes in each conference room.
- Vodec is disinfecting lobby surfaces every day.
- Vodec is following its current policies and procedures as well as recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Vodec is monitoring these sites for updates.
Q: What do you need to let Vodec know?
- Vodec staff and consumers should notify their supervisors if they are leaving the country.
- Vodec staff and consumers should notify their supervisors if they or a family member are diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Vodec staff and consumers should notify their supervisor if they have been in direct contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- If a consumer is medically fragile or more vulnerable, discuss team opinions in making decisions on activities and outings.
Q: What activities/outings has Vodec canceled to minimize employee and consumer exposure to the virus?
- The Special Olympics in Iowa City, IA on March 13 and 14 has been cancelled. Consumers scheduled to participate in that event will have a special performance in Council Bluffs at V1 Thursday, March 12, at 12:30pm.
- Consumers will not be participating in the Polar Plunge activity March 21st.
- Vodec will access and make decisions as the dates of subsequent activities come closer.
Q: What is Vodec’s staff employee quarantine leave policy?
If a staff employee is in a mandatory or voluntary quarantine situation, they should inform their supervisor and review their options. Impacted employees may request an administrative leave of absence if they do not have any sick time available to cover their time. Requests for administrative leave of absence will be considered on a case-by-case basis and approved/disapproved by the CEO. Administrative leave is unpaid, but it does not count against the employee. In addition, staff employees always have the option of using paid vacation leave, if available.
Vodec will follow the CDC, local health department(s) and the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines on the COVID-19 for staff and consumers.
- People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
- People who develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath), should call their healthcare provider immediately.
- If a positive case of COVID-19 appears in Vodec’s day programs or residential program, they will follow instructions from the local health department(s) and/or the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Vodec will disinfect surfaces daily in all areas of facilities, day programs and residential group homes.
- Vodec will encourage consumers and staff to wash hands frequently.
At this time, Vodec will not close if the Council Bluffs, Omaha or Urbandale school districts close.
A Q&A to Help Consumers Understand COVID-19
Q: What is the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a kind of germ that can make people feel sick. Remember how the flu made you/your friend feel? It can be a lot like getting the flu. Some people feel just a little bit sick. Some people get a fever and a cough. Sometimes, the cough can make it hard to breathe easily.
Q: How do you catch the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The virus spreads like the flu, or a cold or cough. If a person who has the coronavirus sneezes or coughs, germs that are inside the body travel outside of the body. That’s because sneezes and coughs can send tiny drops carrying germs into the air. There is a lot of traveling those germs would have to do to get inside another body, though, and make someone else sick. A healthy person would need to touch those germs that came out of the sneezes and coughs and then touch their mouth, eyes or inside their nose. Those are places where the germs can get inside the body. People can try their best to stay healthy by continuing their usual activities and practicing these healthy behaviors:
- Sneeze or cough into tissues (and throw them away), or sneeze or cough into your elbow. This helps keep germs from traveling and making other people sick.
- Wash your hands with soap and water when you usually do, like after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose. When you wash your hands, remember to count slowly to 20. (Sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song or recite the alphabet.)
- Try and keep your hands out of your mouth, eyes and nose.
Q: Why are some people wearing masks? Should I wear a mask?
Masks are for people who are sick – they wear them so they don’t share their germs. The masks are also for medical staff (like doctors and nurses) to wear so they can help people who have the virus. You do not need to wear a mask.
Q: Can you die from the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Most people who have caught the virus have not died, just like with the flu. Doctors are working really hard to keep an eye on anyone who is feeling sick. They want to make sure everyone gets the help they need, and they want to keep the virus from spreading.
It is important to model calmness when talking about the virus.
Some consumers will look to you to see how afraid they should be.
Steps to Prevent Illness
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- 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’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
When to wash
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet · After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals. Follow these five steps every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,
- Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
- Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
- Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use.
How to use hand sanitizer
- Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
- Pottawattamie County COVID-19 Information Line
Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 712.890.5368 or 712.890.5369.