From Janet Butler, CEO/President
I believe increased communication and awareness are our best defense against fear as we deal with the everchanging coronavirus situation. I will be posting daily on our blog. Each day will bring some new information; our focus will remain to provide supports which promote optimum health and wellness for the people CSI supports and our team members.
Community Systems, Inc. provides supports in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Virginia. Community Systems Support and Management Services, Inc. (SAMS) provides oversight and support to the four CSIs and is based in Pocasset, MA.
Confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the State of Connecticut as of 3/14/2020- twenty (20)
Governor Lamont issued a state of emergency on March 10, 2020:
Lamont declares state of emergency: Lamont gave himself broad powers to act in the name of public health and specifically to slow the spread of coronavirus Tuesday when he declared a state of emergency. Using those powers, he banned gatherings of more than 250 people and waived a state requirement that public school students attend class for 180 days this year, paving the way for dozens of school districts to shut down without fear of having to make up all the days that were missed. “We don’t do this lightly,” Lamont said in announcing the state of emergency. “We’ve got to be prepared for what is happening.” Another power the decision gives Lamont is the ability to quarantine residents at risk of spreading the virus. Under state statute, lawmakers have 72 hours from the time the emergency is declared to override it, but a bipartisan committee that met at the Capitol Wednesday was on board with the decision.
Confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the State of Delaware as of 3/14/2020- six (6)
March 12, 2020 Govener Carney announces state of emergency:
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney has issued a State of Emergency to prepare for the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The declaration, which will be effective as of 8 a.m. Friday, March 13th, directs the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services’ Division of Public Health to mobilize state agency resources to assist with Delaware’s response to the virus.
- The Delaware National Guard is required to take precautionary and responsive actions to assist with Delaware’s response to the virus
- Event organizers in the state are advised to cancel non-essential public gatherings of 100 people or more to prevent community spread of the virus
- The State of Delaware is allowed to conduct public meetings electronically to prevent unnecessary public gatherings
- Price gouging, or an excessive price increase of goods or services, is prohibited during the outbreak.
This emergency declaration does not require schools or businesses to close their facilities, implement any driving restrictions in Delaware, or close state office buildings.
Confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as of 3/14/2020- 138
March 10, 2020 Govener Baker issues state of emergency in Massachusetts:
BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday due to the ongoing concerns about coronavirus. Baker made the announcement during a press conference at the State House.
Health officials announced on Tuesday there are 51 new cases, bringing the state’s total of positive tests to 92. Of those cases, 70 were connected to a Biogen employee conference at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston at the end of February.
On Monday, there were 41 cases in the state.
“We believe it’s important to start taking more aggressive action now to mitigate spread based on the information we have available,” Baker said. “There’s no question the efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus will be disruptive. We expect this disruption to continue for the foreseeable future and understand it will cause inconvenience for many. But our goal needs to be to significantly increase efforts to mitigate the spread of this disease now.”
Baker said executive branch employees will discontinue work-related foreign and domestic travel until further notice. Conferences, seminars and other gatherings hosted by executive branch agencies involving external parties will be held virtually or canceled.
“The Commonwealth is one of the largest employers, so we have a significant role to play in mitigating the spread of this virus. We urge all employers and large organizations to follow suit where it is appropriate for them to do so,” Baker said.
Baker said older adults and people with health issues should avoid large crowds whenever possible. But the governor said because many of those people need to use the MBTA, efforts to disinfect stations will continue.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing local schools with relief from attendance and school year requirements so schools can make decisions to close if the opportunity arises due to coronavirus. The longest any school will be required to go is its 185th scheduled day.
“I would have to say the risk has increased,” said Baker. “But again, that’s part of the reason for the guidance we put out there with respect to the way we think we are going to act as an employer. We would like to see other employers do similar things.”
The last state of emergency for Massachusetts was issued in September 2018 for the Merrimack Valley gas explosions.
“We urge all of our residents to do their part to stay informed to keep the Commonwealth safe and healthy,” Baker said.
Baker echoed what Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said earlier in the day regarding the Boston Marathon, saying a decision will be made at a later date if it will go on. But in general, Baker said “large gatherings probably aren’t a good idea” at the current time.
Confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth of Virginia as of 3/14/2020- seventeen (17)
March 12, 2020 Govener Northam announces state of emergency:
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the continued spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
While Virginia has been thoroughly preparing for weeks and has adequate funding to address the situation, this declaration will allow the Commonwealth increased flexibility to ease regulatory requirements and procurement rules, continue federal and multi-state coordination, and ensure continued access to critical services for the most vulnerable Virginians. In addition, it has become increasingly clear that states must take a primary leadership role in the national response to COVID-19. The full text of the Governor’s emergency declaration is available here.
“Our top priority is to make sure Virginians stay safe and healthy, and that our response to this situation leaves no one behind,” said Governor Northam. “From our health department, to our schools, to our hospitals, to our transit systems, Virginia’s agencies and institutions have been thoroughly planning for every scenario. This emergency declaration will ensure we can continue to prepare for and appropriately respond to Virginians’ needs during this time.”
Governor Northam also announced additional steps to ensure the health and safety of all Virginians, including:
Ban on State Employee Travel and Implementation of Telework Policies
Virginia has over 100,000 state employees stationed throughout the Commonwealth. Governor Northam has halted all official travel outside of Virginia by state employees, with increased flexibility for inter-state commuters and essential personnel. Specific guidance will be released to agency heads and state employees, and Virginia will revisit these guidelines after 30 days.
Governor Northam has also directed his Secretary of Administration to implement a phased transition to teleworking for state employees. The Department of Human Resources Management will work with the Virginia Department of Health’s Equity Workgroup to prioritize support for impacted state employees that may be unable to perform their duties from home, including janitorial, food, and grounds staff.
The Department of Human Resources Management has worked to ensure all agencies have updated emergency operations and leave policies. State employees, including part-time employees, can access paid Public Health Emergency Leave in the event of exposure to COVID-19 or high-risk travel.
Public Gatherings and Large Events
In accordance with advice from state public health experts, the Commonwealth of Virginia will cancel all specially-scheduled state conferences and large events for a minimum of 30 days.
Governor Northam is directing state agencies, through the Department of Human Resource Management, to limit in-person meetings and non-essential, work-related gatherings.
Governor Northam is also urging localities and non-profits to limit large public events, effective immediately. Localities should make these decisions in coordination with their local health departments and the Virginia Department of Health. Highly populated localities and those with close proximity to positive cases are strongly encouraged to announce updated event guidance by Friday, March 13, at 5:00 PM, in advance of the weekend.
Long-Term Economic Planning
Governor Northam is also assessing the potential long-term economic impacts of COVID-19. While containing the spread of the public health threat remains a top priority, Governor Northam is working with state and local partners to ensure Virginia are prepared for any continued economic disruption.
Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade will coordinate regularly with representatives from the Virginia Employment Commission, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Department of Labor and Industry, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and other relevant stakeholders.
Throughout his administration, Governor Northam has worked closely with state legislators to protect Virginia’s strong economy and prepare for unexpected economic shocks. The General Assembly will vote today on a budget that boosts Virginia’s reserve funds more than at any other time in the Commonwealth’s history, an essential mechanism to ensure continued state services regardless of economic uncertainty.
Ongoing State Response Efforts
The Commonwealth of Virginia is continuing to execute a multi-agency response plan across all levels of government. Efforts include the following:
- The Department of Education has advised all school districts to update their pandemic guidelines, in consultation with their local health departments.
- The Northam administration continues to be in regular communication with superintendents, university and community college presidents, to provide guidance on the unique situations they are facing on the ground.
- The Virginia Department of Health has expanded its testing criteria to ensure that anyone who has symptoms and is in a nursing home is top priority and gets immediate testing.
- Nursing homes and senior care facilities have updated their policies to provide additional visitor screening and increased monitoring of patients.
- Virginia’s social services agencies are preparing options to ensure the most vulnerable populations have continued access to critical services, including the potential for in-home care and food supports.
- In the event of extended school closures, the Virginia Department of Social Services is working with local partners, such as food pantries, to ensure no one goes hungry.
Addressing Barriers to Care
- Virginia is working with insurers to waive co-pays and diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.
- Governor Northam continues to encourage private businesses to explore telework and paid time off options, including those with hourly workers.
- Across the Commonwealth’s transportation network, which includes airports, Metro, buses, and rail, Virginia is adjusting cleaning schedules according to CDC protocol.
- Virginia is also working with transportation partners to help reduce the potential spread of disease.