Coronavirus 2019- COVID-19


Abilities COVID-19 Policies and Procedures:

November 2021- v23: PDF


May 25th, 2021 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE


March 29th, 2021 Update:

DDD Announcement regarding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expansion.  Click HERE


March 12th, 2021 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE


March 1st, 2021 Update:

Newsletter from Heather Tucker, Abilities BSN RN: Click HERE


February 22nd, 2021 Update:

NJ Department of Health- When to Get Tested Flyer: Click HERE


February 11th, 2021 Update:

New Jersey Association of Community Providers Fact Sheet on Both Vaccinations: Click HERE


January 20th, 2021 Update:

COVID-19 Vaccination Q&A from Heather Tucker, BSN RN: Click HERE


January 8th, 2021 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE


COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

For the most current vaccine information and updates, please regularly visit the following:

NJ COVID-19 Vaccine Page

New Jersey Department of Health- COVID-19 Vaccination Page

Warren County Health Department- COVID-19 Page

  • NJ DoH When to Get Tested Flyer- PDF on NJDoH Site
  • NJACP Fact Sheet on Both Vaccinations- PDF
  • DDD COVID-19 Vaccine 1/14/2020 Update- PDF
  • Vaccine Update 12/9/2020- PDF
  • NJ DoH COVID-19 Vaccine: Who Will Be Able to Get the Vaccine?- PDF
  • NJ DoH COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs- PDF
  • CDC Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States- WEBSITE
  • New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJIIS)- PDF
  • V-Safe Poster PDF and Information PDF

November 18th, 2020 Update:

DDD Update- Mandatory Day Program Closures: Click HERE


September 12, 2020 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE


August 14th, 2020 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE


July 16th, 2020 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE


June 26th, 2020 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE


June 25th, 2020 Update:

Two COVID related links provided by The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities:


June 17th, 2020 Update:

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CVERAP) will provide temporary rental assistance to low- and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income or became unemployed due the COVID-19 pandemic

Enrollment Period is Monday, July 6, 2020, at 9:00 am until Friday, July 10, 2020, at 5:00 pm

Completion of this pre-application does not guarantee placement in the COVID-19 ERAP.

https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/cverap.html


June 9th, 2020 Update:

COVID info & Resources from the United Way of Northern NJ's Caregivers Coalition Team.  Click HERE.


May 29th, 2020 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE.


May 27th, 2020 Update:

COVID Info & Resources from your Caregivers Coalition Team- United Way of Northern New Jersey: Click HERE.


May 21st, 2020 Update:

NJ Department of Health Standing Order for COVID-19 Testing: Click HERE.


May 19th, 2020 Update:

Link to New Jersey Department of Human Services’ discussion on available supports and services which was held on Wednesday, May 13 -  YouTube video of the entire discussion with CART captioning, as well as ASL interpretation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1vQaUhnJKs&t=2539s .  It is also available on the DHS Facebook page: facebook.com/NJDHS/.


April 28th, 2020 Update:

Available resource:

www.njhelps.org- This site will help to see if you are eligible for food assistance (SNAP), cash assistance (WFNJ/TANF or WFNJ/GA), and health Insurance (NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid). From there you can apply for services or learn about additional resources.


April 27th, 2020 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE.

The State of New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli issued an order ensuring patients with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities can have a family member, personal care provider or service provider with them if they become hospitalized.  Official letter from the DoH click HERE.  It's recommended caregivers download and print a copy for their records in case hospitalization is necessary. 

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Providing Critical Short-Term Support for Renters.  To provide additional options to tenants who are struggling financially as result of COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 128, allowing tenants to direct their landlords to use their security deposits to offset rent or back rent.   Click HERE for more information.

Family Care Guidance for Medicaid Determinations COVID-19.  Click HERE.

Grants available through Autism Care Today for individuals with Autism.  Click HERE to apply.


April 21st, 2020 Update:

Informational Fact Sheets from The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities:


April 13th, 2020 Update:

At this time, to participate in our online activities, such a Music with Patricia, Art with Emma, etc. you DO need to have a Facebook account.  All our activities are held either via Facebook LIVE or a video upload to our account: www.facebook.com/abilitiesnw


April 6th, 2020 Update:

Letter from Cynthia B. Wildermuth, CEO: Click HERE.


April 1st, 2020 Update:

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Poster; Click HERE


March 26th, 2020 Update:

Additional resources for our consumers and families:

Norwescap New Jerseyhttps://norwescap.org/covid-19/norwescap-service-updates/- dedicated to creating opportunities and changing lives for thousands of low-income individuals and families in Northwest New Jersey.

NJ Register Readyhttps://www13.state.nj.us/SpecialNeeds/- allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency.


March 23rd, 2020 Update:

NJ Ombudsman, Paul Aronsohn provided a PDF file of credible and valuable New Jersey resources during this time: NJ COVID-19 Resources

Some key links to be aware of:


March 19th, 2020 Update:

Yesterday New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson was live during the Governor's update yesterday. Here is a link to the updates provided: NJ Human Services Works to Protect & Help Maintain Continued Benefits for Residents Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Additionally, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) provided their DDD Quarterly Update for Individuals, Families and Providers.  Click HERE to open a .pdf file of the slides.

The NJ Department of Labor created a reference guide for the benefits available to employees impacted by COVID-19.  Click HERE to view.


March 18th, 2020 Update:

While our offices remain closed to the public, our administration is in operation and we do have staff available should you need to communicate with us directly.  Here are the email address contacts you should be using:

General Inquiries/Questions- info@abilitiesnw.com
PrintAbilities- printing@abilitiesnw.com
PossAbilities Thrift Boutiques- dcrouse@abilitiesnw.com

For our families and caregivers:

On March 16th, the DDD provided a FAQ for those impacted by the mandatory closure of Day Programs.  CLICK HERE to open a .PDF version of the document.


March 16th, 2020 Update:

In light of today's mandate by Governor Murphy, all Abilities operations, including PrintAbilities and PossAbilities Thrift Boutiques, will be closed until further notice.  Please email info@abilitiesnw.com with any inquiries. 

Other Notes:

While PrintAbilities is currently closed to the public, we will continue to produce orders already in place and will be monitoring email for quotes and future orders. We will make necessary arrangements to limit contact and follow social distancing guidelines for payment and order pickup. We want to ensure our past and future customers PrintAbilities services are available if needed. Email: printing@abilitiesnw.com

In doing our part to keep the spread of Covid-19 to a minimum, both PossAbilities Thrift Boutique locations will be closed, effective Tuesday, March 17, until further notice.  During this time we ask that you refrain from leaving donations outside our shops and hold onto them until we announce that we have resumed donation intake.  Please continue to support PossAbilities by liking, commenting and sharing our social media posts, as we fully intend on continuing to post funny pictures, DIY ideas, shop merchandise and more!  Feel free to contact Danielle with any questions at dcrouse@abilitiesnw.com.

At this time, the Branching Out Food Pantry is closed until further notice.  We understand that this service is essential to the families we serve and apologize for the difficult situation closing our pantry will cause.  Please refer to the Warren County listing of food pantries with their cooresponding contact information: CLICK HERE.


March 15th, 2020 Update:

In an effort to reduce exposure to our most vulnerable served in congregate settings, DDD has issued a directive to close Day Programs no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020.  We will do so commencing Monday, March 16, 2020, until further notice.  This suspension of services includes our Workshop (Community Rehabilition Program) located at 264 Route 31 North in Washington. 

Please see the full DDD announcement by clicking HERE.

At this time, our PrintAbilities and PossAbilities operations remain open to customers.  We will keep our Abilities community updated as this situation continues to rapidly evolve.  Thank you for your understanding and should you have any questions or concerns, please send an email to info@abilitiesnw.com and someone will respond accordingly. 

Reminder to follow the five prevention steps below:

  1. HANDS Wash them often
  2. ELBOW Cough into it
  3. FACE Don't touch it
  4. FEET Stay more than 3ft apart
  5. FEEL sick? Stay home

It is important to stay connected with us via this page, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


March 13th, 2020 Update:

Due to the increased potential closure of schools, organizations, businesses and government offices, we want to reinforce that Abilities will continue to remain open and operational as long as the safety of our individuals and staff isn’t compromised.  We are following guidelines from state agencies, and working closely with our affiliates, to determine best strategies to ensure our staff and consumers are served in the safest setting.  We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 containment strategy here in New Jersey and make the necessary adjustments to our policies and procedures if necessary. 

Should it be determined that our program or organization must close for a certain period of time, communication will be critical.  It is important to stay connected with us via this page, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter


March 11th, 2020 Update:

Abilities is actively implementing the following measures to prepare for the COVID-19:

  • Doors at programs will be locked during program hours and all visitors will be screened prior to entry.
  • Authorized visitors will be required to utilize hand sanitizer upon entrance to any building.
  • Strict enforcement of agency health policies and procedures, including our infectious disease policy.
  • We are providing daily surveillance for potential illness.  Those exhibiting symptoms are being removed immediately from the general area to await pick-up from program. Individuals will be separated from the general population and given a mask until they are removed from program.  Individuals are not allowed to return to program until medical clearance is received.
  • Staff and consumers will be required to wash their hands upon entering any program.
  • Staff are ensuring that consumers are washing their hands properly with soap and water throughout the day.
  • Staff are disinfecting high touch and community surfaces twice daily with EPA’s SARS-CoV-2 products which are proven to kill the virus.
  • There is a no handshakes or hugs rule that consumers and staff must follow.  Physical contact must be kept to a minimum.
  • Supervisors will be requesting conference calls for consumer ISP and IDT meetings until further notice.  Administration will utilize teleconference as opposed to in-person meetings.
  • All non-essential staff trainings and conferences have been cancelled unless deemed necessary and approved by management.
  • Should a potential risk be identified, we will follow the direction of the CDC and local health department, and communicate actions to all stakeholders.  At the very minimum, no person identified as a risk will be allowed at, or return to, our agency without the proper medical clearance. 
  • We will continue to distribute accurate information and guidance about the virus.

 

Reminder again, please follow these basic illness prevention strategies:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work, a day program, or school
  • If you are coughing, cough into the inside of your elbow instead of covering your mouth with your hand. Cover your nose with a tissue if sneezing and throw the tissue into the trash.
  • If a family member or a person with I/DD in a group home is sick, it is important to clean and disinfect objects that the person who is ill has touched.
  • Drink lots of fluids

 

Due to the increased response to growing health and safety concerns, we've decided to postpone our March 20th Diamonds in the Sky dinner dance celebration to a future date in 2020. For more information visit the event page: www.abilitiesnw.com/annual-gala.php


March 5th, 2020 Update:

Abilities is actively enforcing its health and infection control policies and procedures in light of the recent circulating viral infections (seasonal influenza and coronavirus 2019 - COVID-19).  Abilities is strictly enforcing the health policies and procedures,  In addition, Abilities is following all guidelines and recommendations set by the DOH, DDD, and the CDC.

Abilities is actively employing the following measures:

  1. Daily cleaning/disinfecting of all centers and vans, particularly “high-touch” items
  2. Contracting with CINTAS for all cleaning/disinfecting supplies and services.
  3. Providing access to soap, hand-sanitizers, and tissues for personal hygiene.
  4. Daily surveillance for ill individuals.  Those found ill are being removed immediately from the general area to await pick-up from program.
  5. 24 hr symptom-free rule – no exceptions. Physician follow-up in some cases are required.
  6. Working with community sending agencies in cooperative prevention efforts to prevent spread of any illness/disease.

There has been much information in the media in the past few days about the coronavirus in the United States.  This notice has some basic information that may be helpful for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families, and direct support professionals (DSPs).

The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) has a free, 24-hour public hotline for questions on the coronavirus.  The phone number is 1-800-222-1222. The hotline is operated by the NJ Poison Information and Education System, also known as the NJ Poison Center, which is a division of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Click https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_community.shtml to see the DOH web page on the coronavirus.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lots of information on the coronavirus on their website, which is available https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

The most important thing that everyone can do now is to remain calm, and to utilize the basic illness prevention strategies that are important in preventing all types of viruses, including the flu and the coronavirus.  These strategies are summarized below:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work, a day program, or school
  • If you are coughing, cough into the inside of your elbow instead of covering your mouth with your hand. Cover your nose with a tissue if sneezing and throw the tissue into the trash.
  • If a family member or a person with I/DD in a group home is sick, it is important to clean and disinfect objects that the person who is ill has touched.
  • Drink lots of fluids

Persons with I/DD or their caregivers should always contact their health care providers if there are concerns about the individual's health (whether the concern is regarding influenza, another type of virus, or the possibility of the coronavirus).

The CDC is not recommending face masks for healthy people, but they could be helpful for an individual who is sick, to prevent that individual from transmitting that illness to others. In the event that the coronavirus spreads in the United States and disrupts one's daily routines, it is a good idea to develop contingency plans, just in case they are needed.

As further information on the coronavirus in the U.S. becomes available, it is important to check trustworthy sources, such as the CDC website or the NJ Department of Health website (see the links above).

The following links are printable PDF files of handouts provided by the CDC and other reliable sources.  It it recommended that these materials be printed and displayed in high traffic areas.

COVID19 Poster

Symptoms of COVID19

Don't Spread Germs at Work

STOP the Spread of Germs

Is it a Cold or Flu?

 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above alert or any other related issues, please contact Heather Tucker at (908) 689-1118.