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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.

  • 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 vaccine 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. 

 

 

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

Apr 01, 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.