Friends, families and supporters: 
  
Good Friday morning to you—on behalf of all of us at JFGH, we hope you are staying well, staying healthy and enjoying this beautiful fall weather. I, for one, am happy to feel this drop in temperature after a sticky summer! 
  
Speaking of weather changes, I wanted to let you know that we are working on modifications to our visiting protocols to address cooler and, eventually, cold weather as fall turns to winter. We are aware of and planning for Thanksgiving and winter holidays as well, so that we can accommodate visits to folks living in our group homes and others receiving in-home supports. We are consulting with our Medical Advisory Panel, county and state departments of health and related guidelines to inform our approach to these changes. And, as usual, we are taking a very conservative approach to keeping health and safety our number one priority. 
  
We are also implementing plans for influenza season, which happens to correspond with the coming colder weather. Folks we support in our group homes will all receive the flu shot (assuming no clinical/medical contraindications) from our top notch nurses in their homes or from their physicians during regularly scheduled appointments. For staff, a range of options have been created to assure they are vaccinated safely and without increasing exposure risks associated with COVID-19. We are heeding the urgent recommendations that everyone receive their flu vaccine, which by consensus is every bit as, if not more important during the pandemic than ever. Our planning for this began weeks ago. 
  
While we all watch the news on COVID-19 unfold, even seven months after our first brush with the virus here at JFGH, we are reminded that the virus dynamics haven’t changed a bit. Just within the past week, two JFGH staff tested positive. Fortunately, thank G-d, no one JFGH supports has contracted the virus. But, these two new infections this week are a stark reminder that we simply must continue to take every precaution. Case mortality rates among people with IDD continue to be more than twice that of people without IDD. We all must remain committed to taking every precaution to keep ourselves and the people around us safe and healthy. 
  
The three golden rules: Wear a face mask. Wash your hands. Practice physical distancing. And, perhaps a fourth: Make good choices! 
  
Thank you so much for your steadfast support of JFGH. We know these have been incredibly difficult, trying times; and, I’m afraid we just don’t know when all of this will end. Our commitment is that we will base all of our decisions on science and data. We will continue to err on the side of conservatism when it comes to the health of our staff and the people we support. We will make mistakes, and when we do, we will own them, fix them, learn from them and move forward. We will continue to communicate with our community of stakeholders openly and honestly. And, we will always remember to express our deep gratitude for the embrace of our community. It means so much to so many. Todah rabah
  
Shabbat Shalom! 
  
David

David Ervin, JFGH CEO, dervin@jfgh.org
 
Post Script: Next week, join us on Facebook Live Friday, October 16, at 10am, for our weekly update.