Second Community Health Advisory: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
What a Difference a Week Makes?
Our state Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has been working around the clock this week with the Association of Regional Center Agencies, the Department of Public Health, the Governor's office and many others to get the regional centers the answers we desperately needed for our community. Large scale policy decisions needed to be made quickly which would allow Valley Mountain Regional Center and the other 20 regional centers to take a position of abundant caution to protect our consumers, our providers, our staff, and community as a whole throughout our region.

In the immediate future Valley Mountain Regional Center will be practicing enhanced social distancing procedures which will include remote meetings and trainings etc., enhanced cleaning and hygiene procedures by our staff, and several measuring to reduce the chance of exposure in our community ( see our FAQ for more details)

These are unusual times for us all and there is definitely a level of fear that is unprecedented in recent years. However, I believe our consumers, families, providers and VMRC staff are tight knit community built of caring and resilient people. Together we will get through this by being understanding of each other's needs, their fears, and anxiousness. We are in this together and we will get out of this together as an even stronger community.

Thank you for your continued support of one another especially during these difficult days ahead.


Tony Anderson
Executive Director
Valley Mountain Regional Center.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today we published an FAQ to answer the many questions we've received so far. This is our initial response and we expect many more editions to come.

Check it out here and visit our Covid-19 Update Webpage regularly at:

What's Going On and
What Have We Been Doing About This
Since Monday Morning
  1. Monday March 9th VMRC published it's first Health Advisory on the Coronavirus. All 5 of our County Departments of Public health had no known cases. 
  2. Tuesday March 10th: San Joaquin and Calaveras Counties had reported confirm cases.
  3. Wednesday March 11th: World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 spread to be a global pandemic.
  4. Wednesday March 11th: Stanislaus reported confirmed cases bringing our regional total to 3 counties and 5 cases.
  5. Wednesday March 11th: Major sports leagues cancel or suspend their seasons and the media reports athletes and celebrities with confirmed cases.
  6. Wednesday March 11th: The President addresses the nation suspending and restricting travel, signed a bill authoring increased funding to the Centers for Disease Control for COVID-19 response,and a plan for fiscal relief for Americans.
  7. Thursday March 12th: Governor Newsome holds another press conference on COVID-19 response and release executive order highlighting the specific needs of Californian's with developmental disabilities. Calls for waiving in-person contact requirements, allows for public meetings to be remote, mitigation efforts for the financial losses of providers, and social distancing requirements of large gatherings.
  8. DDS publishes a directive for regional centers outline the mitigations and waivers in support of the governor's executive order.
  9. VMRC begins the process for cancellations of large group gatherings and developments it's first FAQ document to answer the question from consumers, providers, and families.
  10. Friday March 13th: Messages sent out to staff and community and manager and senior leadership begin the implementation process for the new policies. As of today there are no known cases of consumers with COVID-19.

Previous Recap
During the first half of February the Clinical staff were monitoring the worldwide, nationwide, statewide and local developments of the COVID-19.

In the last week of February to current:
  1. Advisories were developed and CDC resources ordered.
  2. Policies and an advisory for staff developed and disseminated.
  3. Informational plain language web page developed and updated regularly.
  4. First report of potential exposed person (Consumer A) (a few days later was tested negative)
  5. Clinical Director along with Senior Leadership developed staff policy plus enhanced universal precaution procedures and resources and supplies ordered.
  6. Facilities manager is ordering additional supplies and equipment for antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers, tissues, etc. for the universal precautions kits we will be assembling.
  7. Hand sanitizer dispensing machines ordered for the lobbies and public areas, supplies were found in short supply and higher costs.
  8. Wednesday March 4, 2020 (Consumer B): It was reported that a consumer potentially exposed second hand (no symptoms - testing scheduled - reported as low risk).
  9. Thursday March 5th (Consumer C): It was reported that a consumer potentially exposed third hand (no symptoms - testing scheduled - reported as low risk).
  10. CA Department of Public Health and Office of Emergency Services Published Official Use Only report which show all of our five counties listed at either Lowest Risk or Level 3 (lowest Risk) (San Francisco and Berkeley ranked Highest Risk)
  11. Friday March 6th:  DDS has called for a Directors Meeting to discuss regional activities and ideas to support the local communities.
  12. VMRC Resource Development receives a message from a parent wanting us to shut down the schools because of COVID-19. While misdirected and alarming it’s a good reminder that there are probably many out there in our community that are afraid and in need of good and reliable information. 
  13. Public Health officials warned us to be careful not to violate HIPAA by revealing anyone is under quarantine and reiterating that the involved person can reveal whatever they want about their own health condition but no one else can.
What Can You Do?
Here are some things you should do based on the Center for Disease Control and the Dept of Labor recommendations:
  1. It’s the time of year when many people get the flu so you should get the flu vaccine and flu antivirals if your doctor prescribes them. All providers serving people should follow these 10 actions to ensure the health and safety of those they support.
  2. Stay at home if you are sick. People who have a fever and or respiratory symptoms should not go to work or school or any public gathering until 24 hours after their fever ends.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  4. Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
  5. If you have a cough or sneezing wear a mask and if you’re working with someone who is coughing or sneezing offer them a mask.
  6. If you do not have a mask cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve(s) – wash hands immediately after. 
  7. Keep frequently touched common surfaces clean with disinfectants.
  8. Try not to use someone else’s phone, desk, office, computer, or other work tools and equipment. If you must use a coworker’s equipment, clean it first with an alcohol wipe.
  9. Avoid shaking hands or coming in close contact with people who may be ill.
  10. Speak with your doctor and find out if you are in a high risk category for seasonal flu (e.g., elderly, pregnant women, small children, persons with asthma, etc.).
  11. If you have been have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Contact your doctor or county public health if you think you might be exposed.
Local County Public Health Resources
  1. Amador County (no known case March 13, 2020)
  2. Calaveras County (2 known cases March 13, 2020)
  3. San Joaquin County (6 known cases March 13, 2020)
  4. Stanislaus County (2 known cases March 13, 2020)
  5. Tuolumne County  (no known case March 13, 2020)
Message to Valley Mountain Regional Center Staff
I know many of you have many new questions about what we should do to ensure the health and safety of our consumers and staff and community in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of late night last night we were still getting new directives from the Department of Developmental Services and Public Health. This document is the first response to many of your questions we’ve received just in the last couple of days. This is a rapidly changing situation for us at VMRC as well as our local, state, national, and global communities and we expect this document to be updated regularly. We will continue to post information through email, website, inside exchange, social media, and any other way we can get it to you.   

The senior leadership has been sharply focused on making sure we get you the accurate information for our region and our community of people with developmental disabilities. Finally the directives in this FAQ may seem to some overly dramatic but we have taken a position of abundance of caution at this time and while we cannot assure your complete protection against coming in contact with the virus we can do everything in our power to significantly decrease your chance for exposure.

As of today Valley Mountain Regional Center has no known cases of consumers testing positive for COVID-19 (March 13, 2020) but we are aware 2 people who have not gotten their tests back (though both were described by health professionals as very low risk). Please for your safety and the safety of others practice the universal precautions especially the hand washing with soap.


Tony Anderson
Executive Director
Worldwide Health Organization