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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.

People Inc. also maintains an Emergency Closing Line for program participants, families and staff containing updated information about weather-related program closures. Call 716.817.5700 (Western New York) or 585.441.9393 (Greater Rochester Region) to find out if your program or location is closed.

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

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 September 14, 2022, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) released a new guidance document amending the requirements for mask use, making them not mandatory under normal operating conditions. It however, include several instances when masks are mandated. Also, please note this is for all certified OPWDD programs only and does not extend to other New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) healthcare facilities, such as MD Offices, hospitals, etc. 
  • As of July 8, 2022, OPWDD is now allowing people receiving services that live in an IRA, who are fully vaccinated (& fully boosted if eligible) OR anyone who has had COVID-19 within the previous 90-days to follow the CDC Guidance and are not required to quarantine if exposed to someone in the home. For those not required to quarantine, wear a well-fitted mask around others for 10-days in all settings and locations. However, people moderately or severely immunocompromised (weakened immune system) are required to isolate at least 10-days regardless of vaccination status. For people residing in an ICF, the entire home still is required to isolate when there is a positive COVID-19 case.
  • As of January 26, 2022, OPWDD announced that emergency regulations, 14 NYCRR § 633.26, continue to require all staff and visitors in certified facilities to wear masks at all times, even in light of the recent Nassau County Supreme Court decision and the resulting stay which was granted related to indoor mask mandates. These regulations further provide that people who receive services must wear masks when visiting public facilities unless the person cannot tolerate wearing a mask due to a disability.
  • As of January 14, 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., DSPs and Facilities Technicians etc.) are required to be vaccinated, with a final dose received by February 26. 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.
  • As of January 6, 2022, Visitations to People Inc. certified residential facilities are required to be scheduled with at least 24-hours' notice to allow for adequate planning and prescreening. To avoid multiple families visiting at one time, to permit multiple families to visit on any given day, and to allow adequate cleaning of high-touch surfaces, visits will be staggered and will include a start time and end time. No more than 2 adult visitors, per family (from the same household), will be permitted in the home at a time. For visitors under the age of 18, management approval is required.
  • As of January 4, 2022, OPWDD issued new interim visitation guidance for certified residential facilities that put back in place COVID-19 screening and temperature checks for families and non-People Inc. employees (e.g., contractors, OPWDD DQI auditors, care managers, etc.) Temperature checks will be conducted upon arrival.
  • 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 9.15.2022

PROGRAM

TYPE

DETAILS

Residential Group Homes

Visitation at  Group Homes

ALL People Inc. employees, vendors and visitors are not required to wear a mask inside the group home under normal operating conditions. (Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation for COVID-19 and/or Influenza protocols.)

As of July 8, 2022, based on guidance from OPWDD: Visitations are preferred to be scheduled with at least 24-hours' notice.

As of July 8, 2022, OPWDD is now allowing people receiving services that live in an IRA, who are fully vaccinated (& fully boosted if eligible) OR anyone who has had COVID-19 within the previous 90-days to follow the CDC Guidance and are not required to quarantine if exposed to someone in the home. For those not required to quarantine, wear a well-fitted mask around others for 10-days in all settings and locations. However, people moderately or severely immunocompromised (weakened immune system) are required to isolate at least 10-days regardless of vaccination status. For people residing in an ICF, the entire home still is required to isolate when there is a positive COVID-19 case.

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. (Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation.)

Person Served Return to Group Home

As of July 8, 2021, there are no restrictions for return to the group home. (Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation.)

Community Activities

As of July 8, 2021, there are no restrictions on community activities. Establishments may still require the use of face masks, regardless of vaccination status and have some capacity limitations in place.(Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation.)

Senior Living

Common Areas

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

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). 

There is no longer a requirement for 50% capacity on vans and buses.

The Lancaster Day Hab Program is closed and will not reopen.
There are no longer site-based prevocational services.
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. 
Janitorial/Carpet Cleaning operations have continued to serve customers throughout the pandemic. 
Transition services have resumed with school districts.

Free-standing Respite

General Operations

Traditional respite services at the Downing Respite Center are operational. Traditional respite services at the Northtowns Respite Center are not operational at this time.

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 Afternoon Respite (Rochester)
  • After the Belle Afternoon Respite (Buffalo) 
  • After Work Respite (Depew/Lancaster)
  • Buffalo Afternoon Respite (Buffalo)
  • 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 (formerly known as Themed Learning Club) (Amherst)

Not opening at this time:

  • Mt. Hope Afternoon Respite (formerly known as 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.

Rehabilitative Health Services

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.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services

General Operations

In-person and virtual advocacy in line with November 2021 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid guidance.

Senior Companion Program

General Operations

Operating at clients’ homes and doing telephone wellness calls.

  • Jun 18, 2020

    June 18, 2020 OPWDD Issues Interim Visitation Guidance for Certified Residential Facilities

    OPWDD issued a series of health advisories regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance for Certified Residential Facilities in March of 2020. Accompanied by strong infection prevention and control requirements, these policies aim to safeguard and maintain the health and wellbeing of residents and staff, while containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 during the State’s initial growth phase of the pandemic. After the successful efforts of New Yorkers to flatten the curve and reduce virus transmission, OPWDD recognized the need for sustainable visitation policies for certified residential facilities for the next phase of the public health emergency. The visitation program for certified residential facilities will be instituted June 19, 2020. After evaluation by OPWDD, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and participating certified residential facilities, this guidance may be modified. All facilities opting to allow visitation under this guidance reserve the right to impose additional restrictions, upon notice to and approval by OPWDD. Additionally, any facility opting to allow visitation under this guidance reserves the right to cease participation and end visitation access while visitation restrictions otherwise remain in place, upon notice to OPWDD. You can sign-up online to receive the  latest updates from OPWDD via email or check the OPWDD website frequently for  information relating to COVID-19 .

  • Jun 18, 2020

    June 18, 2020 Phased Reopening Update

    While many of our People Inc. services remained in full operation throughout the COVID pandemic to date, others were suspended or significantly altered. A planned and gradual reopening of our programs is anticipated, based on a variety of factors to support our primary goal – maintaining a safe and healthy environment for the people we support and our employees. To be as transparent as possible, and allow for families and others to best plan, we are sharing the below information.  Our reopening is reflected in lettered “phases” – Phase A, B, etc. – which may not, and are not meant to, correspond directly with the externally-issued government “phases." Progression, pause or reversal of our phases will be determined by our Emergency Management Team based on continual monitoring and regulatory guidance. Updates may be made rapidly as a result. Some phases may be brief in duration, but are important to pace through in order to ensure the people we also deeply care about are as safe as possible. We appreciate your support as we work together through this extremely challenging time. 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 also posted on our website (next one on June 30 ). A special Coronavirus Phone Line has been established for families to call, 716.817.7445, and is checked every hour 24/7 and responded to directly. A special email address has been established as well, so that concerns can be addressed at COVIDconcern@people-inc.org. PHASE A – Effective June 15, 2020   Program Type Details Residential Group Homes   Visitation at Group Homes Prescheduled outdoor visits at group homes* between the hours of 9 a.m-9 p.m. with limit of 2 family visitors that have been pre-screened, and observe other safety precautions provided in advance. Details are included in the family letter . *No visits will be scheduled at a location if a quarantine is in place. Medical Appointments Family/Guardian can attend emergency medical appointments and procedures in accordance with any precautions established by medical provider Person Served Return to Group Home Phased approach for return to group home begins with testing. Additional safeguards outlined in operational policy which will be reviewed in detail with family/individual as part of the process.   Community Outings Resume community walks, going to parks, drive-thru meals and community for haircuts.   Senior Living Common Areas Services continue, Community rooms and communal patios presently closed Tax Credit Apartments Common Areas Services continue, Community rooms and communal patios presently closed Day Habilitation/ Community PreVoc General operations Day program buildings* are presently closed. Supports being provided remotely. (*exception, some space at 181 Lincoln) Employment services General operations Community-based employment supports have continued, following employer/placement’s status. Limited Contract Manufacturing operational at 181 Lincoln location. Free-standing Respite General Operations Traditional respite services presently closed. Sites redirected as a regional resource to care for people with disbilitilies who are positive and are recovering.     Site-Based Respite General Operations Presently closed. In-Home Behavioral General Operations Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place. Community Habilitation General Operations Continued uninterrupted operations, with precautions in place. 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. Ombudsman services General Operations Remote support, in line with operator’s visitor policies

  • Jun 17, 2020

    June 17, 2020 Phased Reopening Plan to Come

    People Inc. is continuing to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. We will release our Phased Reopening Plan by Thursday, June 18, and post it in this "Coronavirus Update" section.

  • Jun 16, 2020

    June 16, 2020 People Inc. Offers New Informational Session for Families June 30

    Thank you to families who participated in our conference call updates from agency management over the past couple of weeks.  We have scheduled an additional information session for families of the people we support for Tuesday, June 30 at 6:30 p,m. During this call, agency management will pro

  • Jun 15, 2020

    June 15, 2020 (rev July 22, 2020) Letter to Families

    June 15, 2020 (rev July 22, 2020): A new letter to families is available ( English and Spanish ). As always, People Inc. encourages you to stay in contact. Our dedicated email address and phone line is operational to help make it easier to share any concerns at  COVIDconcern@people-inc.org

  • Jun 10, 2020

    June 10, 2020 People Inc. Offers New Informational Session for Families June 16

    Thank you to families who participated in our conference call updates from agency management the first week in June.  We have scheduled an additional information session for families of the people we support for Tuesday, June 16 at 6:30 p,m. During this call, agency management will provide 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.

  • Jun 09, 2020

    June 9, 2020 People Inc. Featured in June 8 Edition of The Buffalo News

    At People Inc., the people we support and our staff will always be our highest priorities. Our direct care staff are frontline heroes caring for thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, many of whom have complex medical needs. Though the article showcases statewide nu

  • Jun 09, 2020

    June 9, 2020 Parent and Caregiver Group Virtual Meeting on June 12

    Parent Network of Western New York is hosting virtual meetings for parents and caregivers of people with developmental disabilities. These meetings will take place on Fridays, June 12, 19 and 26, from 1 to 2:30 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.

  • Jun 03, 2020

    June 3, 2020 New Information Regarding Informational Sessions for Families in June

    Thank you to families who participated in our Residential Services conference call update Tuesday evening, June 2. Our Wednesday night call on June 3 will focus on Day/Employment Services, and our Thursday night call on June 4 will focus on Community Based Services. All calls are scheduled to begin

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