COVID-19 Info and Guidance from NYSCASA

Dear Colleagues,

New York State is among those most affected by COVID-19. In response to this quickly evolving situation, NYSCASA is encouraging staff and colleagues to conduct business remotely whenever possible. We are encouraging staff and colleagues to follow CDC and WHO guidelines and practice social distancing wherever possible, including telecommuting and remote client sessions over phone and video. In the coming weeks we will be making announcements via email and social media of any changes or adaptations to our trainings, events, and work.

 

Our staff is available over email and via web conferencing to serve your needs. We will continue to work regular office hours, 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. We are prioritizing email contact. Our phone voicemail will be forwarded to staff remotely.

If you are in crisis and are looking for 24/7 free and confidential support, call the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: 1-800-942-6906.

NYSCASA staff can be reached by email:
While we are dealing with many unknowns and the situation is evolving quickly, we suggest you have conversations within your organizations and plan as much as you are able.
We have compiled resources to help service providers minimize risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19 to coworkers, clients, and colleagues.
 
Information About COVID-19
 
Getting Your Workplace Ready
Here are some resources explaining how workplaces can play a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
NYSCASA will not be approving any air travel for NYSCASA staff until further notice. Local/regional travel for NYSCASA staff via other means is still allowed at this time, but we recommend meeting virtually via Zoom, Skype, or other platforms if possible.
 
Service Provision
 
Your community may be experiencing unique risk factors related to COVID-19. At this time, please use your best judgment when determining if folks should provide accompaniment services to individuals. If an advocate has a cold, history of respiratory illness, compromised immune system, or other health issues, they may not be the best candidate for providing accompaniment to the hospital.
Some programs have used a telecounseling model as a way to enhance accessibility. This may be a good alternative to providing in-person services.
 
Recommendations
  • Stay informed:
    • Contact and talk to your state and local health departments to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information. Locate your county health office here.
    • The Healing Justice Podcast recently hosted a webinar on COVID-19 preparation from a social justice lens. The recording provides medical information, invocations, grounding practices, and the wisdom and life experiences of people who live with chronic illnesses and disability. Click here to listen and access resources.
  • Prevent transmission: While there is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus, there are steps we can all take to prevent the spread of this and other respiratory viruses.
    • Stay home if you are ill, especially if you are running a fever or have early symptoms of a cold or flu.
    • Cover your nose and/or mouth when sneezing or coughing, using a tissue or inside of elbow.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces in your office and common areas regularly, including cell phones, telephones, keyboards, door knobs, etc.
    • Practice social distancing and avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Make a plan: 
    • Develop a plan in case your community experiences an outbreak.
    • Discuss with staff how you will maintain 24-hour coverage of hotlines, shelter services, and/or hospital accompaniment during times of crisis and change.
    • Stock up on supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), and cleaning supplies to use frequently.
    • Personally: Stock up on supplies, including food and household items, so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time. Be sure to have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms. Watch for symptoms and warning signs.
  • Support each other: 
    • Care for each other in ways that make sense for you. Here are tips for advocacy, mutual aid, collective care, and personal preparation.
    • Be mindful of the health and wellbeing of elders in our families and communities, as well as those community members with chronic illnesses and other health conditions, who are most at risk for complications related to COVID-19.
    • We strongly encourage you to check on the health of your elders and loved ones with underlying medical conditions to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses, as well as ensure they have extra medications, food, and other supplies on-hand in case of an emergency. However, when checking on loved ones, please take extra care to make sure you are not exposing them to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
 
Let us know if there is other information we can look into that would be useful to you.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

In solidarity,

NYSCASA Staff