Friends, families and supporters:

Please excuse the tardiness of this message-- you have all been at the forefront of my mind! I’m struck with how fast time seems to sometimes move, while we trudge along seemingly glacially through pandemic circumstances that has made time stand still. What a dichotomy…

I have very brief updates for you today.

1. We remain healthy and C19-free.
  • Staff testing data: 155 total tests administered; 12 positive results (7.74%) (last was 22 May)
  • VA & MD mortality rates for individuals with IDD are more than double the general population.
These data are breathtaking, and like they have now for months, they portray wildly disproportionate mortality rates experienced by people with IDD who contract the virus when compared to the general population. We are seeing the emergence in the scientific literature of common morbidities that, when present, make COVID-19 especially concerning. And because people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience these morbidities are far greater rates than others, it makes them more vulnerable to more severe outcomes from the virus. We are alert to these risks and remain vigilant in taking whatever steps we can to prevent contracting the virus in the first place.

2. As we continue to create opportunities for the JFGH community to connect—even as we are apart—we hope you’ll continue to consult our Community Connections calendar. And we really hope you’ll join us on September 9th for our virtual Challah baking class! With thanks to the Lev Experience, we are looking forward to coming together to make Challot from scratch, which just two days later—paired, of course, with the Hamotzi—we can enjoy as we welcome Shabbat. There’s more dates to save for more connections for all of us!

3. We continue to be amazed at the outpouring of support from our community. Many of you are family members of people JFGH supports. We posted on our social media platforms last week about Partners in Policymaking. Quoting directly from The Arc Maryland, “Partners in Policymaking (PIP) is a program that prepares adults with intellectual/ developmental disabilities (I/DD), parents, and family members of children and adults with I/DD to be effective advocates at the local, state, and federal levels.” During the COVID-19 crisis, countless family members have asked, “what can we do?” Partners in Policymaking is one of the answers to that question. Mind the application deadline of September 7th, but check out the opportunity here, and if you’re intrigued/interested, apply. And, if there’s anything JFGH can do to encourage or support you in doing so, just let us know!

Be on the look out for an update to the SWARM on our website. As we’ve continued to update protocols, in response to research science, medical advisement and the data, we will update our SWARM accordingly. And, this Thursday at 12:15pm, join me on Facebook Live for more updates.

Until then, stay well, stay healthy and stay safe.

We got this.
David Ervin, JFGH CEO,