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EPI's Response to COVID-19

posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Originally posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Continuously updated.

As we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving details of the COVID-19, we want to ensure you we are committed to the health and safety of the people we serve, our workforce, and the communities in which we live.  

We Moved to Action Early

When discussion began in our nation several weeks ago now about the appearance of the Coronavirus including its pandemic potential, we moved immediately to action.

  • Staff were trained and infectious illness procedures were carefully reviewed.
  • Supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), were assessed and sourced.
  • We've closely followed guidance from CDC, IDPH, Governor's office, Black Hawk County Health department as well as our funders and regulators.
  • A task team meets regularly to respond as guidance and details around the virus has evolved. Communications are put out swiftly as needed and all staff meetings are held virtually on a regular basis to address questions.

We Take Our Responsibility Seriously

We have followed all national and state guidance and complied with all of Governor Reynold’s executive orders swiftly.

  • We assessed underlying conditions of persons served in our daily residential services and restricted/tightened the circle of staffing at these sites to reduce traffic.
  • We've promoted and utilized telehealth in our intermittent sites as needs permit.
  • We closed programs in accordance with these orders including Transportation, Day Habilitation, and Employment.
  • We limited traffic, visitors and staff, to reduce potential for exposure early on.
  • Staff and persons served actively monitor for symptoms. Additionally, staff must respond to a series of questions before arriving on site. The responses are reviewed and followed up as additional precautions are warranted.
  • Staff have been trained in the use of PPE and how to extend its protection as we aggressively manage our limited supply, while working to increase our inventory.
  • We've deployed cloth face masks to all direct service staff (thanks to generous donations from our community members!).
  • Environmental cleaning and disinfecting in routinely conducted by staff.
  • Self-isolation is practiced for persons served within sites when symptoms have presented when possible.

Taking Care of Our Team

  • ​For those providing critical services that cannot be interrupted, better known as our direct support professionals (DSP) and child care teachers, we acknowledge work conditions are certainly more complicated than they use to be. For that reason, we explored every possible resource and are happy to share we are able to offer a Temporary Pay Increase for hours worked as a DSP and for Hawkeye Child Development staff. 
  • A number of our supervisory and support staff are successfully working remotely.

We can't do it alone.

We ask that you work along with us to keep everyone safe. If you are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), follow the CDC’s direction to stay home and contact your health care provider for further instruction. Do not go out if sick.

Practice the following to reduce the spread of germs.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hand sanitizer must be used as a substitute, ensure the hand sanitizer contains at least 60-95% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Increase personal space (6-10 ft) as much as you can. Consider activities in groups carefully. Don't share food, beverages, writing utensils, etc.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, visit the following.

We're Here for You

Thank you for helping us keep your loved one safe. We know it's been difficult having limited contact with your loved one. We care very much about the people we support and our promise is we will do everything within our control to keep them, and the staff that serve them, safe and healthy.