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A Coronavirus Phone Line is available for families to call at 716.817.7445.
An afterhours Coronavirus hotline is available for families and people enrolled in our Day Habilitation Programs and Vocational Services to share questions at 716.529.6505.
Concerns may also be emailed to COVIDconcern@people-inc.org.

Updates on Programs, Services and Protocols Due to COVID-19

While many of our People Inc. services remained in full operation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to date, others were suspended or significantly altered. Adjustment, as needed, will be made across the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions, based on geographic case prevalence. The People Inc. Emergency Preparedness Team is proactively engaged in monitoring any potential changes in our service areas and will adjust agency policies accordingly. 

Our primary goal is to maintain a safe and healthy environment for both the people we support and our employees. To be as transparent as possible, and allow for families and others to best plan, we will continue sharing updates to programs, services and protocols. We appreciate your support, as we continue to work together through this extremely challenging time.

  • As of January 4, 2022, and as a result of the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccination rule, regarding Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) Only—ALL People Inc. Employees with regular and consistent contact (e.g., Facilities Technicians etc.) are required to be vaccinated. Employees without consistent contact are NOT required to be vaccinated. All Non-People Inc. Employees (e.g., Contractors, DQI Auditors, Telehealth, VNA etc.) are required to be vaccinated.
    • Please Note: Families are not required to be vaccinated to visit their loved ones.
  • October 5, 2021: A vaccine mandate was announced by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. This new requirement, established within New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) agency regulations, does not apply to our People Inc. operations. This mandate will apply to all people working at the psychiatric hospitals in the OMH network, as well as those working at ArchCare, the specialty hospital certified by OPWDD. Families, please note that this does NOT apply to People Inc. staff and there is no change affecting our services at this time. People Inc. continues to monitor this closely and will provide updates, as they become available.
  • August 19, 2021: People Inc. adjusted our masking protocols, based on revised OPWDD guidance, throughout the agency effective immediately, as follows:
    • ALL People Inc. employees, vendors and visitors are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status
    • During transportation, masks are still required for OPWDD programs, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • February 15, 2021: Many of the People Inc. Day, CAPP, YALT and Respite programs began reopening, but not all. See chart in next section.

Thank you for your continued observation of the protocols that best keep the people we support and our staff as safe as possible.

We will continue to post updates to this information online, and as always, families are welcome to call group homes or programs for specific questions or participate on our family conference calls.

The chart in the next section will continue to be updated to reflect status changes of a program or service.

Update Details for Programs & Services (Chart)

Updated 8.19.2021

PROGRAM

TYPE

DETAILS

Residential      Group Homes

Visitation at  Group Homes

As of July 8, 2021, there are no restrictions for visitation. Please Note: ALL People Inc. employees, vendors and visitors are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status inside the group home at all times. 

Medical Appointments

Family/Guardian may attend medical appointments and procedures as necessary. However, attendance is also based on the specific health care facilities' COVID-19 guidance and policies. Most health care facilities and providers are still requiring the use of face masks, regardless of vaccination status and still have some capacity limitations in place.

Person Served Return to Group Home

As of July 8, 2021, there are no restrictions for return to the group home.

Community Activities

As of July 8, 2021, there are no restrictions on community activities. Please note that unvaccinated people are still required by NYS & OPWDD to wear a mask.

Senior Living

Common Areas

Community rooms (with kitchen) are open. Tenants and visitors who are unvaccinated are required to wear a mask in the common areas.

Affordable Apartments (Mixed Income/Tax Credit Apartments)

Common Areas

Community rooms (with kitchen) are open. Tenants and visitors who are unvaccinated are required to wear a mask in the common areas.

Day Habilitation, Community PreVoc, CAPP, DHWW, YALT

General Operations

Operations primarily open to persons who live at home with their families or reside in other agencies' residential programs due to continued restrictions on capacity in buildings (social distancing) and transportation (50 % occupancy on vans/buses).

The Lancaster program remains closed.

Information is provided on the Day and Employment Chart.

Employment Services

General Operations

Community-based employment supports have continued, following employer/placement’s status. Limited Contract Manufacturing is operational at 181 Lincoln location.

Free-standing Respite

General Operations

Traditional respite services at Northtowns and Downing Respite Centers are operational.

Site-Based Respite

General Operations

The following changes were made as of 2.9.2021, or after, for our respite sites: 

Open:

1860 Buffalo Road Respite (Rochester)

After the Belle Afternoon Respite (Buffalo) 

After Work Respite (Depew/Lancaster)

Del-Ton Weekend Opportunities (Tonawanda) 

Iris Afternoon Respite (Hamburg) 

Ken-Ton Afternoon Respite (Kenmore-Tonawanda) 

Late Afternoon Respite (Buffalo) 

Lockport Recreation Respite (Lockport in community programming)

Northtowns Afternoon Respite (Lockport) 

OMG (formerly known as On Main and Grove) Afternoon Respite (East Aurora) 

Orchard Park Weekend Opportunities (Orchard Park) 

Recreation Respite (Depew/Lancaster)

Southtowns Afternoon Respite (Hamburg) 

TLC K-5 Afternoon Respite (Amherst) 

TLC (fomerly known as Themed Learning Club) (Amherst)

Not opening at this time:

Buffalo Afternoon Respite (Buffalo) 

Rochester After School Respite 

In-Home Behavioral

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Community Habilitation/  In-Home Respite

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Recreation Respite

General Operations

Program reopened

Elmwood Health Center

General Operations

Continued operations, open for in-person and virtual visits.

Home Health Care

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Headway of WNY

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place. Virtual support groups held the first and third Tuesday each month.

Deaf Access Services

General Operations

Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place.

Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center

General Operations

General operations resumed, with precautions in place.

Ombudsman Services

General Operations

In-person support in line with operator’s visitor policies.

Senior Companion Program

General Operations

Operating at clients’ homes and doing telephone wellness calls. 

 

 

  • Nov 19, 2021

    NYS Funding for Direct Support Professionals Announced

    New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced the approval of several funding packages that will impact our direct support staff and agencies in our field of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One-time American Rescue Plan Act Funding will, “support recruitme

  • Nov 10, 2021

    December 6 Agency Family Call Announced

    We have scheduled an information session for families of the people we support for Monday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. via  Microsoft Teams  and phone. During this call, agency management will provide operational updates, projected plans and answer questions. Questions ma

  • Oct 06, 2021

    Governor’s October 5 Vaccine Mandate Does NOT Apply to People Inc.

    October 6, 2021: On October 5, a vaccine mandate was announced by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. This new requirement, established within New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) agency regulations, does not apply to our Peopl

  • Sep 03, 2021

    RESCHEDULED: People Inc. Offers Informational Session for Families on Tuesday, September 14

    September 9, 2021: Thank you to families who participated in our earlier conference call updates from agency management. We have rescheduled the next information session for families of the people we support for Tuesday, September 14  at 6:30 p.m. During this call, agency management will provide families operational updates, projected plans and answer questions. Questions may be sent in advance of, and during, the call to  COVIDconcern@people-inc.org , or texted to 716.868.9233. Given the anticipated volume of participants on the calls, this is the most effective way to have your question heard and answered. RSVP to 716.817.7400 to receive the conference call number and access code. The meeting will also be accessible on September 14 via Microsoft Teams . Please note: an RSVP is needed because even if the conference call phone number remains the same, a new unique access code is issued specific to each call.

  • Jul 06, 2021

    People Inc. Offers Informational Session for Families on Monday, July 12

    July 6, 2021: Thank you to families who participated in our earlier conference call updates from agency management.  We have scheduled the next information session for families of the people we support for Monday, July 12, at 6:30 p.m. During this call, agency management will provide families

  • Jun 03, 2021

    June 3 COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar for People with Developmental Disabilities

    Join DDNY for a webinar about COVID-19 vaccines for people with Autism and other developmental disabilities. The event will take place on Thursday, June 3, 2021, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. via Zoom.  A Question and Answer session will be included. RSVP and submit questions  

  • May 20, 2021

    People Inc. Offers Next Informational Session for Families May 26, 2021

    Thank you to families who participated in our earlier conference call updates from agency management.  We have scheduled the next information session for families of the people we support for  Wednesday, May 26,  at 6:30 p.m. During this call, agency management will provide families operational updates, projected plans and answer questions. Questions may be sent in advance of, and during, the call to  COVIDconcern@people-inc.org , or texted to 716.868.9233. Given the anticipated volume of participants on the calls, this is the most effective way to have your question heard and answered.  RSVP to 716.817.7400 to receive the conference call number and access code. The meeting will also be accessible on May 26 via Microsoft Teams at people-inc.org/conferencecallmay26 . Please note: an RSVP is needed because even if the conference call phone number remains the same, a new unique access code is issued specific to each call.

  • Apr 09, 2021

    Parent and Caregiver Group Virtual Meetings Every Month for 2021

    Parent Network of Western New York is continuing to host virtual meetings for parents and caregivers of people with developmental disabilities. These meetings will take place on the first Tuesday of each month, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. This online event provides a welcoming environment for parents, family members and other caregivers to meet, share experiences, ask questions and receive support. More information can be found on the  Parent Network website . Please share this information and  flyer  with anyone who may be interested.

  • Apr 01, 2021

    Family Alert: Updated Important Message to Families of Loved Ones Supported Through our Residential Program Updated 5.24.2021

    As the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions continue to address the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, People Inc. is committed to keeping your loved one safe, as well as people living and working within our group homes. As a result of our commitment to everyone’s safety, the following guidelines and requirements have been established. Please know that we are continuously reevaluating the ever-changing recommendations by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). For further information, contact the supervisor of the group home where your loved one resides or submit questions to COVIDconcern@people-inc.org or 716.817.7445. As of May 17, 2021, we are still under Mask Protocols! Although there have been some recent announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State, People Inc. is still restricted and observing the same Mask Protocols. The majority of our staff and program sites fall under the OPWDD regulations, so our Mask Protocols are still in place – There is NO change as of this time. We are closely monitoring this and will promptly announce any changes in policy. Thank you for your continued observation of the protocols that best keep the people we support and our staff as safe as possible. Effective Thursday, May 20, 2021 , the following policies were updated: Visitor Policy (families coming to the group home to visit)  Community Activities Policy (e.g., haircuts, shopping, and walks outside, etc.) Home Visit Policy (families taking their loved one home to the family home)  Please continue to read for important information for families. The chart of all programs and services has also been updated and is available here . Visitor Policy: visits are now permitted with prior notification. Family visitations inside or outside of the residence on the property are now permitted and are required to be scheduled with at least 24-hours’ notice to allow for adequate planning.   Family member should call the residence upon arrival, to let staff know they are there and ready to visit with their loved one. Family members will use hand sanitizer upon arrival and follow meticulous hand hygiene throughout the visit. Staff will complete COVID-19 symptom screening questions and take the family member’s temperature upon arrival. Please note: as of April 1, 2021 visitation will be denied if a family member has traveled internationally (including Canada) within the past 7-days and tested positive for COVID-19 or within the past 10-days and are quarantined. Staff will also review the visitor policy requirements with the family member. If, at any time, the residence has a person under investigation for COVID-19, and/or person or staff test positive, this policy will be suspended for that specific home until the positive case(s) are resolved and past the required quarantine period of 14-days. If, at any time, the residence is identified as being a micro-cluster/cluster zone all visitation will be suspended. Community Activities Policy: Some community activities are resuming on a limited basis (hair appointments, walks outside, visiting a convenience store, etc.), however, please note that these activities are only with a staff member from the residence and some may require approval from management. The agency must ensure that in order to prevent further community spread, or increased risk of infection, the following conditions are met: People receiving services shall not participate in community activities, if any person or staff member working in the home is suspected or confirmed positive for COVID-19; Any person who had close or proximate contact to a confirmed positive person receiving services within the last 14-days, or any person experiencing symptom(s) consistent with COVID-19, such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea may not participate in community activities. Home Visit Policy: As a result of positive COVID-19 rate increases in New York State, families are discouraged from taking their loved one home for home visits, if the household has a high-risk of exposure and/or will be hosting visitors from outside the immediate household. If your loved one has come to your home for a visit, there are a revised set of required questions which will be completed with the family by management of the home, prior to the person returning. The responses will be reviewed by the COVID-19 Emergency Management Task Force member prior to your loved one returning. There may be times, such as for an extended stay lasting more than 72 hours, where the management team will determine if COVID-19 testing of your loved one is required. Our Nursing staff will work with you to assist in scheduling testing and getting the results of the test should that determination be made. Update: as of April 1, 2021, if the person is fully-vaccinated and 14-days past the 2nd dose/shot for Moderna or Pfizer OR 14-days past the 1st dose/shot for the Johnson & Johnson AND within 90-days, COVID-19 testing is not required for extended stays. A home or family visit will not be possible if any member of the household has traveled internationally (including Canada) with the past 7-days and tested positive for COVID-19 or within the past 10-days and are quarantined. Resources: We will continue to post updates to this information, and as always, families are welcome to contact us with questions: The Coronavirus Phone Line established for families to call is 716.817.7445. The voicemail is checked and responded to directly.  An email address to address concerns from families is  COVIDconcern@people-inc.org. An afterhours Coronavirus hotline is now available for the people and families of people enrolled in our Day Habilitation Programs and Vocational Services to express questions and concerns. The number is 716.529.6505. 

  • Mar 22, 2021

    COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A Webinar Hosted by DDAWNY

    March 22, 2021: Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Check out the “COVID-19 Vaccine Q & A” webinar, presented by the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), now available online . Learn directly from a medical professional, as well as the pers

  • Mar 02, 2021

    Vaccine Resource Information

    Updated 6.11.2021 People Inc. is dedicated to providing educational information to our staff, people we support, families and the community. We wanted to share some resource information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. Please find the following COVID-19 vaccine resource documents for your review: Janssen (Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson):   Janssen Fact Sheet  for Recipients And Caregivers Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Of The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine To Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) In Individuals 18 Years Of Age and Older (Updated 4.23.2021) Pfizer:   Pfizer Fact Sheet  for Recipients And Caregivers Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Of The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine To Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) In Individuals 16 Years Of Age And Older Moderna:   Moderna Fact Sheet  for Recipients And Caregivers Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Of The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine To Prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) In Individuals 18 Years Of Age and Older Please find the following COVID-19 resources for your review: National Institutes of Health – Communities Fighting COVID! U.S. Food & Drug Administration – COVID-19 Vaccines Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – COVID-19 Vaccines U.S. Department of Health & Human Services New York State COVID-19 Vaccine  and  Am I Eligible New York State Office of Mental Health NY Project Hope is New York’s COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline at 1.844.863.9314 Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions Things you should know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program COVID-19 Vaccine and the Black Community: A Tyler Perry Special "Your Hometown Health Connection" - produced by Buffalo Healthy Living presents several shows regarding COVID-19 Ad Council  - Questions and answers about the COVID-19 Vaccines Looking for an easy way to find available COVID-19 vaccines near you? Text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX) for where to get vaccinated and free transportation, as well as free childcare resources. Visit vaccines.gov for more information.  Support is also available to help you get your vaccine and receive vaccine incentives.  Check the website of your local county department of health for local clinics and other vaccine incentives. As a reminder, the People Inc. dedicated email address and phone line are available to share COVID-19 related concerns for yourself or a loved one at  COVIDconcern@people-inc.org  or 716.817.7445.

  • Feb 02, 2021

    People Inc. Offers Next Informational Session for Families February 25, 2021

    Thank you to families who participated in our earlier conference call updates from agency management.  We have scheduled the next information session for families of the people we support for  Thursday, February 25 , at 6:30 p.m. During this call, agency management will provide families operational updates, projected plans and answer questions. Questions may be sent in advance, and during the call, to  COVIDconcern@people-inc.org , or texted to 716.868.9233. Given the anticipated volume of participants on the calls, this is the most effective way to have your question heard and answered.  RSVP to 716.817.7400 to receive the conference call number and access code. Please note: an RSVP is needed because even if the conference call phone number remains the same, a new unique access code is issued specific to each call.

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