COVID-19 Response Resource
As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, we want to assure you we continue to prioritize the health of the people we serve, their families, and our workforce.
Let's work together to find creative ways to stay in touch with your loved ones.
Virus News - 5/27/21
Words cannot express how deeply grateful we are to you for your efforts made to bring us to where we are today. While the pandemic is not quite over, the virus is spreading at a much lower rate and vaccination rates are continuing to climb. With those factors in mind, EPI will be moving to its organizational response level of Low on June 1.
What does the "Low" response level look like?
As we prepare to move to our Low response level, please remember precautions look different for our varied services and offices. We continue to focus on our number one priority which is the safety of the persons we serve and our workforce.
Therefore, it's important we can make these distinctions about when we need to utilize a different level of precautions based on where we are and/or who we are with.
General guidance still applies: Continue to wash your hands frequently, avoid large crowds, and stay home if you are sick.
Service & Persons Served, Day Habilitation Response = NO CHANGE. (details below under services)
- We will continue to follow current precautions (face coverings, handwashing, etc.) while providing services. Why? Our regulatory bodies have not yet changed their guidance specific to healthcare settings.
Children and Family of the Childcare Center Response
- Visitor, symptom definition, and face covering guidelines have been updated
- Offices will resume pre-pandemic "open" to the public status.
- Following CDC guidelines, we ask those not fully vaccinated to wear a face covering and physically distance. Those fully vaccinated, will no longer need to wear a face covering at our offices as of this effective date. Additionally, we welcome and embrace the use of these precautions by anyone who would feel more comfortable doing so.
- In person meetings may return. The meeting host/originator will inform and discuss precautions for those invited to and attending the meeting.
Vaccine News - 3/24/21
We had been advocating quite persistently for our workforce and persons served to be included in early distribution plans - and the hard work paid off!
- Those choosing to receive a vaccine, have been able to receive one through vaccination clinics held at the Deery Center offered by our partners at UnityPoint Health!
- Persons served, through hosted clinics, will become fully vaccinated by the end of April.
A BIG thank you to UnityPoint Health (UPH) for partnering with us to provide these vaccination clinics. An extra special thank you to the UPH nursing staff administrating the vaccinations to persons served for accommodations made to meet everyone's needs.
Thank you to our staff and persons served guardians for your quick action allowing us to move through this process!
FAQs (click here to read more):
If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and social distance?
Assessing Risk and Proceeding with Caution
Our approach, across all of our service areas, will be to assess risk and proceed with caution.
Why? The virus is highly contagious and many of the people served by EPI are at higher risk for severe illness or complications as a result of COVID-19. Public health officials still recommend staying home as much as possible and limiting close contact to reduce the likelihood of getting or spreading the virus.
We recognize risk factors and/or comfort levels will vary person to person. At the same time, one person's decision effects the whole. So, we must work together.
Here's an overview of our general approach with each person served:
- Assess individual risk factors related to the virus
- Discuss comfort level with individual and team
- Define the circle (broadly defined as the people in each other's living or working space)
- Reach agreements of measures to be followed in each circle and clearly communicate
In general, the person in the circle with the highest risk factors sets the pace. If no high risk factors are present in a circle, the person with the lowest comfort level would set the pace.
We Continue Exercising Extreme Caution with Persons at Higher Risk for Severe Illness
Persons over 65 or otherwise more medically vulnerable to this virus will continue to be strongly encouraged to exercise the following caution as communicated by public health officials:
- Continue staying home/in own outdoor space as much as possible - only going out for essentials if necessary (groceries, medications, medical purposes)
- Take all of the following precautions when out for essential purposes: Clean hands often, avoid high touch surfaces, avoid touching your face, wear a cloth face covering in public, cover coughs and sneezes. Practice social distancing.
- Limit gatherings/visits. If visits are necessary, outdoor is preferable to indoor, significantly limit the number (no more than 10)
Managers and directors are available and ready to discuss what this approach means for you and your loved one. Please continue reading to know what to expect in all of services.
Please Continue for Service Specific Updates
We continue to follow all guidance put forth by state and public health officials and will highlight a few of those measures below.
Agency-Owned Vehicle Transportation
- Cloth face masks will be worn when riding in vehicles
- Cleaning/disinfecting will be done after each trip
- Persons who are ill must stay home unless seeking medical attention
- EPI will be offering field trip transportation with enhanced procedures. Contact us for more information.
Community Services - Day Habilitation Services
- You'll see us continue to follow the guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health to ensure social distancing, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures while being creative in how we resume meaningful day activities. We will follow our return to service plan until further notice (please reach out if you need us to resend the full plan)
- We will use two locations in Waterloo for our start/stop locations: River Plaza Building and our Deery Center located at 3675 University Avenue. Each location is large enough to allow increased social distancing for those who attend.
- Social Distancing Required - Staff and persons served will maintain 6 foot distancing at all times.
- Bring Cold Lunch - Persons served will need to bring a cold lunch to avoid kitchen use where people would be in close proximity.
- Increased awareness of personal health:If experiencing symptoms (fever of 100.4 or greater, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) follow the CDC’s direction to stay home and contact your health care provider for further instruction; Please notify us right away if person served is being tested for COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19
- Screening for Symptoms: Screening of participants will be conducted at the scheduled arrival times (see above). Upon arrival, participants should stay in their vehicle. A Day Habilitation team member will greet you and conduct the screening at your vehicle.If arriving after the noted arrival time, please ring the doorbell at the applicable entrance and wait for a staff member to assist you.
- Reducing the Spread of Germs: Masks are required - Staff and persons served will be required to wear a cloth mask while inside (including vehicle) or when 6 foot social distancing cannot be achieved. If you do not have a cloth face mask, one will be provided for you; Frequent Hand Washing - Persons served will be encouraged to frequently wash hands and use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available.
- Following Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Steps: Surfaces, including vehicles, will be cleaned and disinfected frequently (especially frequently touched surfaces - remotes, light switches, door knobs).
Community Services - Employment Services
- No change at this time.
- Employment Services will continue to support persons in returning to their work in the community.
- We'll continue bringing other services back online in a safe and responsible way.
Community Services - Residential/Intermittent
- We continue person and site based assessments to provide guidance.
- We continue limiting visits inside of the home.
- We continue with our enhanced precautions including, but not limited to: monitoring for symptoms, wearing cloth face coverings, frequent cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing, isolating persons with symptoms, and more.
- Persons who are ill must stay home unless seeking medical attention.
Health Equipment Lending Program
- Follows office guidelines listed above.
- Payee Services staff will serve clients remotely and in person.
- Follows office guidelines listed above.
Vehicle Repair Services
- Vehicle repair service welcomes repair work from the community as a way to give back. We offer very competitive pricing for oil changes, tires, and other auto repair needs.
- Our garage gives us plenty of space to maintain social distancing.
- Give our vehicle repair team a call at 319-235-9058.
Let's stay informed, together.
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