Last week, we reached out to all employees outlining recommendations to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”). I’m writing this today to assure everyone we continue to monitor daily updates from Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We’re taking their lead as we evaluate and adjust our own practices.
By and large, our message remains the same: we provide critical services to a population who needs assurance that care will not be interrupted. All staff and patients should be following the standard precautions: stay home if you are sick (specifically, experiencing fever combined with a cough and shortness of breath); wash your hands frequently, or use hand sanitizer; cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough; regularly clean surfaces that are repeatedly touched; and take steps to keep yourself healthy. We’re posting and sharing this information as many ways, in as many venues, as we can.
As of today, based on new guidance from OHA, we are taking additional steps. Our admissions department will be requesting that anyone seeking treatment admission delay plans if they are experiencing symptoms. This is not an active screen-out, but simply an effort to increase awareness for those calling in.
For residential programs, we will specifically screen for symptoms prior to moving forward with any entry to the programs. Because additional caution is warranted to keep our residential environments safe, we are revising our visitor and community outing practices to limit exposure. This means screening all visitors for fever and cough, revising visitor times to discourage large groups, limiting areas of the facility that are accessible to visitors, and increasing cleaning protocols in those spaces. And while we do not believe suspending attendance at community mutual aid groups is yet necessary, we are tailoring therapeutic outings to avoid public spaces where large groups gather in close proximity.
While the continued spread of COVID-19 is assured at this point, we remind everyone that the risks to the majority of us are low. As responsible members of our community, it’s important that we actively work against fear and misperception, while continuously evaluating how we can reduce the possibility of exposing our staff and patients.
Thank you for your vigilance, and your kindness.
Executive Director, CODA