Friends, Families and Supporters:
Happy Friday! Thank you very much for joining us Monday for our first-ever virtual Annual Meeting. It was so good seeing so many of you, and it’s a source of strength for all of us having such an exquisitely supportive community. If you missed it, you can view a recording
. An important update for this week follows, below; and, we’ll see you on
next week on
Thursday at 11am EST!
I’ve gotten lots of questions on our re-opening—what I’m calling our recovery—plans. With Maryland and Virginia opening business through their stages 1 and 2; and, with Montgomery County seemingly on the verge of entering into stage 2, we’re all anxious to know when and how JFGH will resume some of its normal operations. The questions we get most are around family visits and people leaving their homes to visit family or go to places and events.
We will continue to take a conservative and prudent approach. It’s worth noting that JFGH, as an organization, is considered in Stage 3 of Maryland’s re-opening plans, the “
” phase, given common risk factors that tend to be prevalent among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Montgomery County is behind the Maryland sequence of opening stages; however, their final stage is, as to content, essentially the same as the State of Maryland’s. So, please understand that while we are indeed seeing the world around us begin to re-emerge, there remains a fairly substantial distance to go for us. Hang in there.
We also recognize how incredibly difficult this has been for all of us, and we are naturally desperate to see (live, not on a Zoom screen!) the people we love. Therefore, beginning
Friday, 26 June, JFGH is excited to welcome restricted family member visits with folks we support, as follows:
- Visits must be scheduled with the Program Manager in advance.
- Must be outdoors/open space, weather permitting.
- Must be on the property of the home—back or front yard, driveway, etcetera. Designated spaces will be specified by the Program Manager.
- Family member must be masked.
- To the full extent the person living in the home will tolerate, s/he must also be masked.
- JFGH staff must accompany.
- Physical distancing guidelines (6’ or more) must be followed throughout. Unfortunately, hugs and other forms of physical contact are not allowed at this point.
- Visiting family members must bring their own chair or seat.
- Visitors will be required to answer a screening questionnaire that essentially speaks to symptoms experienced by the visiting family members.
- No more than two visitors will be allowed.
- Visit limited to one (1) hour or less.
We realize these guidelines are detailed and quite structured. Unfortunately, we are reminded that the COVID-19 virus and the threat of the virus to our health remains as substantial today, if not more so, as it has ever been. There is no attenuation of the virus, irrespective of the downward “trend” of hospitalizations and deaths. In Maryland, for example, as of data last Friday, 7.1% of Marylanders with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died from the virus. This is 48.7% higher than the mortality rate experienced by Marylanders in general who have contracted the virus—people with IDD are at extraordinary risk of much more severe outcomes from contracting the disease, and I know our families and our community join me in wanting to do everything we can to prevent these horrendous outcomes.
As we continue looking toward a safe return to a new normal, we want your thoughts, worries, ideas and insights. If you can spare 10 minutes or so, we invite family members to take a survey that can be found
. We also invite all of the people we support to take a different survey found
. Your opinion is important to us, and we believe a community-informed approach to our re-opening and recovery is our best way forward.
In the meantime, we remain COVID-19 infection-free! Last week, we welcomed home another of the three people we support who were originally hospitalized! We are thrilled to have him home. We also got a very promising update on the last of those three. He is an unbelievable fighter! Keep sending those wonderful, positive thoughts and prayers as he continues his fight to recover to full health.
Don’t forget that our
COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
remains a critical way for you to invest in our work in fighting this crisis. Our amazing DSPs and staff, who continue to do the most heroic work, need our support. We are expending about a half-million dollars in added staff costs every month. Those extra dollars? For our DSPs. We hope you’ll join our growing army of investors in the heroic work of our staff.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay healthy.
We got this.
David Ervin, JFGH CEO, email@example.com