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Browse the latest People Inc. and affiliate press releases.

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.

The Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council (DDAC) is compiling a report on New York State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to solicit feedback from as many people as possible, the DDPC has developed a survey for parents/caregivers and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The survey is only open through Monday, May 16, 2022. Read more

Residential Services Spring Meeting announced: People Inc. is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, May 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., for families and guardians whose loved one receives supports through the Residential Program. The agenda will include presentations on staff recruitment efforts and admissions/certified residential opportunities process. Join us via phone (audio only): 1.607.442.6488, 236086440#. The phone conference ID is: 236 086 440#.

  • 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 4.6.2022

PROGRAM

TYPE

DETAILS

Residential Group Homes

Visitation at  Group Homes

ALL People Inc. employees, vendors and visitors are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status inside the group home at all times. (Subject to change if the site needs to go into isolation for COVID-19 and/or Influenza protocols.)

As of April 4, 2022, based on guidance from OPWDD:
Visitations are preferred to be scheduled with at least 24-hours' notice.

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.

Participate in a Survey for Families/Caregivers of People with IDD through May 16

May 11, 2022


Input from Family/Caregivers of People with IDD Needed on New York’s Response to COVID-19
The Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council (DDAC) is compiling a report on New York State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to solicit feedback from as many providers as possible, the DDPC has developed a survey for parents/caregivers and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Please share this message with families you support:

We know that people with IDD and family members faced unique challenges during the pandemic. We want to hear about your experiences, during the earlier days of the pandemic, so that the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and other state agencies can be better prepared, should another public health emergency occur in the future.

The New York State Legislature has charged the independent DDAC with preparing a report assessing New York’s response to COVID-19 relating to people with IDD. The Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) is assisting the DDAC in the preparation of the report.

This report will include an evaluation of policies, procedures, and programs that were implemented from March 2020 through April 2021 to determine the impact on safety for people with IDD. The report will also include feedback from stakeholder groups including self-advocates, family members/caregivers, providers, CCOs and underserved communities.

Survey for Families/Caregivers of People with IDD

One of the important components of this report is a survey for family members/caregivers of people with IDD. As a family member/caregiver of a person with IDD, your voice is critical to making sure our report accurately represents the experiences that people with IDD and family members faced during the pandemic for the time period of March 2020 through April 2021. It is also essential that a wide variety of family members from various parts of the state and an array of backgrounds respond to the survey so the DDAC and DDPC get the clearest picture of the impact of the state’s actions. 

The survey is about 10 minutes long. It is completely voluntary and anonymous. You are free to skip any questions that you do not wish to answer. If you are interested, view the survey here. It will be open until Monday, May 16.

Thank you for your participation in this important effort.