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COVID-19: Questions and Answers

March 26, 2021

Dear families and friends of Communitas,

Through the current restrictions, we remain committed to keeping you and your loved ones safe and healthy. As an organization, we continue to carefully follow the orders and advice of our provincial health authority.

The current restrictions remain in place and we are adhering to these restrictions. If you are looking for the current provincial order, please refer to the BC Government website.

Communitas has adjusted our services and policies to support the reduction of COVID-19 transmission. Our prevention and exposure plans are consistent with all public health and WorkSafe BC guidelines and, as such, we have reduced our social interactions, limited travel, suspended group activities and enhanced workplace safety for our physical locations and for our community-based supports.

Our current services include:

Group homes: visitor guidelines are being modified to reflect our public health orders and we are reducing non-essential travel. We have altered the activities and outings to meet the current pandemic guidelines. We are grateful that many of the residents have already received their first vaccines.

Contracted services: we continue to adhere to the provincial orders with our contracted service providers. The guidelines include limiting social interactions, eliminating non-essential travel and limiting both community activities and respite outside the home. The people in HomeShare arrangements will begin receiving their vaccines on or after April 1st.

Day Services and Vocational Supports: We continue to suspend social gatherings and are modifying our in-person supports. Our day service staff are providing virtual and/or telephone supports when other face-to-face supports are not possible. One-to-one opportunities to meet outdoors will expand as the weather improves.

We are committed to keeping everyone safe and healthy –mentally, emotionally and physically and we are continuing to assess each person’s support needs on a regular basis.

Our staff members continue to look for creative ways to engage with people and families while encouraging people to stick to their household bubbles while adhering to the provincial guidelines. We will continue to do our part to lower the transmission rates in our community.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your primary contact at Communitas if you need assistance and clarification.

If you are seeking specific information you can visit one of these sites:

  • The BC Centre for Disease Control provides the most current information on COVID19
  • Community Living BC updates and information can be found here and they have now posted information on the vaccine roll out for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
  • Provincial government updates are found on the BC Government Website

We ask that all persons and family members continue to follow the advice of our provincial health officer by:

  • Avoiding unnecessary travel outside of your community
  • Reducing social interactions by socializing only with your core household or core bubble
  • Completing personal health checks before and after any services are provided
  • Practicing physical distancing of at least two meters
  • Using respiratory etiquette and wearing masks
  • Washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer regularly
  • Staying home and apart from others if you are sick with cold, flu or COVID symptoms

As always, we are deeply grateful for you. Thank you for going above and beyond to keep each other safe and healthy.

On behalf of our leadership team,

Karyn Santiago

CEO


Questions and Answers for our Families and Caregivers Regarding COVID-19

March 26, 2020

1. If I am concerned about my family or loved one, who do I contact at Communitas?

Please contact the manager of your program or service or your coordinator for direction. They will know how best to help you. If you can not reach this person, please call 604-850-6608.

2. If I suspect that a loved one has COVID-19, what do I do?

Start by completing the online assessment at https://covid19.thrive.health/ then follow the resulting instructions.

Call 8-1-1 for symptom/testing advice and follow the instructions provided by the health authority provider.

Call the medical hotline at 1-888-COVID19 for advice on travel, social distancing, and the support and assistance that is available from the provincial and federal government.

3. What steps is Communitas taking to protect people?

We have developed guidelines and protocols for supporting people safely and carefully. We have adopted the guidance laid out by the provincial health officer, WorkSafe BC and our government funders for ensuring safe community, office and residential spaces.

We continue to follow advised health practices, including safe distancing of 2 meters, hand and respiratory hygiene, travel advice and limitations on gatherings and room occupancy. We continue to work with families and caregivers as our services pivot to ensure that people feel comfortable and safe with the services going forward.

4. Which services are still being supported?

Residential Services: All 24/7 residential services continue to support the residents who live there. These homes have modified visitor policies that reflect the current recommendations and access to community is carefully planned. Staff continue to provide continuity of care for your loved ones.

Day Services and Vocational Services:

  • Group Activities: Group activities have been modified in accordance with provincial guidance and phased recovery plans. General group activities have moved to virtual platforms and one-on-one supports have replaced the group activities.
  • One-to-One: Face-to-face support is carefully planned and follows public health guidance. Health checks are conducted prior to contact, indoor occupancy limits are followed and procedures for maintaining physical distances, using masks and gloves, and maintaining respiratory hygiene are in place.

Contracted Services: Coordinators and managers are in contact with service contractors on a regular basis.  Coordinators and contractors are encouraged to dialogue with each other and to share opportunities and concerns while adhering to the provincial guidelines.

Administrative Buildings: WorkSafe BC guidelines have been put in place to ensure occupancy limits are observed, health checks are completed, visitors are tracked and additional COVID19 guidelines are maintained.

Please note that all visitors are required to report to reception prior to entering the building.

We encourage people to make appointments ahead of visiting the administrative offices.

5. How is the vaccine being rolled out to people?

Communitas is following all recommendations provided by the provincial health officer and is also following the public health guidance being provided in each region. For more information on the current vaccination schedule, please go to the BC Government website.

We are still here for you!!

Our staff members and leadership team are committed to your safety and wellbeing through this challenging time. We are also praying that everyone will find peace in the storm and an abundance of grace. Together, we will continue to create places of belonging, growth and contribution…for people of ALL abilities.