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.
Vaccine News - 1/14/21
Early research indicates people with disabilities are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population. We are overjoyed that a vaccine is becoming available.
Vaccine Distribution Plan - Since the vaccine is expected to be limited at first, the CDC provided a tiered distribution plan. According to federal, state and public health guidelines, health care workers with the highest risk of exposure were identified as the first tier to receive the vaccine.
Distribution depends on the number of available vaccine doses and progress will vary by county due to a variety of factors.
Where is EPI in the Plan? We have been advocating quite persistently for our workforce and persons served to be included in early distribution plans. While we do not yet have official word, we do see positive movement and will share what we believe to be true today (please know any or all of this information could change).
- Our workforce and persons served should be recognized as Phase 1B - next in line!
- We've established a partnership to administer the COVID-19 vaccination for persons served and our workforce.
- We're hoping to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics onsite at EPI's Deery Center (for both the first and second dose and for both workforce and persons served).
Your Action Needed - When vaccines become available, we must be ready. We expect to have little notice when vaccines become available to our agency.
- To be proactive, we will be reaching out to guardians in the near future to discuss our plan in more detail. Please be on the lookout for an a email from our service staff directly (a mailing will also be sent out).
- The communication will contain important information on how to be fully prepared when the vaccine is made available and will require your immediate response.
Learn More About the Vaccine
Please take some time to learn about the COVID-19 vaccine from fact-based sources such as FDA and CDC.
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.
EPI are offices open by appointment only until further notice.
- Offices doors will remain locked. Your EPI meeting organizer will meet you at the door at the time of your appointment. Please call our receptionists if you cannot reach your meeting organizer.
- Virtual meetings are preferred to in-person gatherings.
- Please stay home if you are ill or experiencing any symptoms.
- We require employees and visitors to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth.
- We require maintaining a six-foot physical distance for employees and visitors.
- We regularly clean and disinfect common areas and high-touch surfaces. Hand sanitizer and hand washing stations are readily available for your use.
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.
- As more business begin opening, 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
- Resumes by appointment only.
- Follows office guidelines listed above.
- Payee Services staff will continue serving clients remotely.
- 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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