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Open Sky Family Member and Guardian Update

Family and Guardian Update

April 2020

Dear Family members and Guardians,

I am writing to provide some updates on what has happened at Open Sky Community Services during the past week. While the week was another challenging one for us all at Open Sky I remain so impressed with the truly heroic efforts of our dedicated employees on the front lines working to ensure the safety of all involved. As we deal with this unprecedented and continuously evolving crisis, we have seen both an increase in the numbers of tests being performed and an increase in the number of people throughout Central MA who test positive for COVID-19. Increased testing is one critical tool that helps us make the best decisions to isolate the virus and protect individuals and staff.

For your information, I am including a link to the dashboard of Massachusetts COVID -19 case information for April 26. Below that link is a summary of Case Counts for Open Sky which includes both staff and individuals we serve.

https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-dashboard-april-26-2020/download

Open Sky Community as of April 26, 2020: 36 positive cases

Number tested of Open Sky staff and individuals: 142; Number Negative: 98; Number Positive: 36; Number Pending: 4; Number of Positive who have fully recovered: 4.

Again, as more testing is done, we expect to continue to see an increase in these numbers. We want to reassure you we are working tirelessly to support individuals in their homes and to keep them safe. We understand the anxiety all of this has caused you and your family, especially given your inability to visit in person.

The health of the individuals we serve and that of our staff remains our most important priority. Since the beginning of this crisis, Open Sky has implemented comprehensive procedures using guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) for the State of Massachusetts. These procedures include:

  • No visitors to the home except for medically necessary visits, maintenance workers performing emergency program repairs, grocery deliveries, or deliveries of personal protective equipment and medical supplies.
  • Screening - Staff are screened prior to entering the home for their shift. Anyone with a fever over 100.3 degrees or with symptoms of an illness will not be allowed into the program. If the program has a person who has tested positive or who is symptomatic, staff must wear medical grade N95 masks, gowns and gloves during their shift. In that circumstance, Individuals are quarantined in their rooms and support is provided by staff. Staff are responsible for taking individuals’ temperatures twice daily and reporting any symptoms to the program supervisor or nurse immediately. 
  • Cleaning - Staff are required to follow strict cleaning procedures monitored by their supervisor. An additional deep cleaning using registered disinfectants will also be conducted following the positive test result for COVID-19 of any individual in the home.
  • Handwashing and Personal care - Staff and individuals are routinely oriented to the regular practice of Universal Precautions and especially during this time are washing their hands frequently with soap and water and ensuring individuals maintain personal care using gowns, masks and gloves.
  • Clinical and Nursing Support – Nursing support is available to advise, monitor and care for medical needs. Staff continue to communicate with the medical team of an affected individual and follow doctors' directions. Staff will seek emergency services as they are normally trained to do and will continue to notify families or guardians (with consent) of any treatment and visits to the hospital.
  • 24 hour on-call system –As always, staff can access leadership at any time for support and guidance. Additionally, during this crisis, Open Sky has established a 24-hour per day, 7-day per week COVID Response Team that reviews every positive COVID-19 diagnosis as we learn about them. This response team is comprised of executive and medical leadership who track, monitor, communicate and lead all COVID-19 response measures in a timely and coordinated way.

We can walk through any of the detailed procedures that Open Sky has developed if you have any further questions.

How can families determine if their loved one is doing well?

We can assist you with a Facetime/Zoom call or connect with you at any time to have a conversation or give you an update. We know how important communication is with you at such an uncertain time and want you to feel comfortable talking with us.

Other resources are available for families through the Open Sky website and you can sign up for our updates by sending an email to info@openskycs.org.

Thank you for the trust you place in us.

Sincerely,

Ken Bates