Community Access Unlimited – COVID-19 Community Resources
To Families and Guardians
Dear CAU Friends and Families,
As the coronavirus situation continues in our area, Community Access Unlimited (CAU) would like to share some updates with you regarding our agency’s response. CAU is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and regularly communicates with experts and officials to follow best practices for the health and safety of our members and staff. All Staff complete a coronavirus screening questionnaire and temperature checks at the start of every shift, and we maintain communications with them about what to do if you are sick, where to get tested for the virus, and what habits to practice to help keep everyone safe.
Each week, CAU provides materials and encourages programs to participate in a creative and enriching challenge at home. We have tried so many fun ideas thus far, including a Zoom scavenger hunt, homemade pizza, and making thank you cards for first responders. Our winners receive a gift card to order food from a local restaurant. Members are also busy with remote learning classes through our Academy of Continuing Education. Everyone in our residential programs is invited to brush up on their learning in math, reading, media, science, art, self help and history.
If necessary, staff will coordinate testing for coronavirus for members. Please click here if you would like to search for testing centers in your area.
Our staff are essential employees and we continue to encourage and recognize them for doing an excellent job of making the most out of this challenging time. Many of you said thank you to them in this video with personal tributes that truly mean so much to our staff.
We are working together every day to solve problems, offer remote services where possible, and help our members reach their goals during this time. Together we are navigating a difficult time and sharing strength, and we thank you for working with us to make it as positive as possible.
Thank you and stay safe,
Community Access Unlimited
To CAU Staff
CAU is taking every measure we can to ensure the safety of our members and staff. Although there is a shortage throughout the country and delivery delays, CAU has obtained N95 masks and is distributing one mask to all staff providing direct care services to our members. These masks are for prevention only. If there is a positive member in our programs, CAU will take protective measures outlined by the CDC guidelines.
The agency is also working diligently to obtain thermometers and once they are received, CAU will distribute. Because we are in competition with hospitals, it is difficult to obtain these supplies. CAU will continue to look to purchase more Personal Protective Equipment for our members and staff.
CAU has been educating ourselves regarding social distancing.
Social distancing can easily be forgotten about as it is not something we are used to doing, especially in our day to day activities. In our research, one place that social distancing is not happening is in elevators. Please be mindful if you are getting into an elevator when there is a group, think about taking the next one. It is ok to politely decline to enter the elevator and take the next one, this is for your protection.
To Members We Serve
Community Access Unlimited is committed to the safety, health and well-being of our members. As we continue to monitor the increasing impact of COVID-19, we want to assure you that the administrative team at CAU is keeping up to date on the situation, listening to recommendations coming from appropriate authorities, and taking proactive steps to minimize disease transmission.
These steps include distributing N95 masks to all staff providing direct support for members, stepping up cleaning protocols, and sending staff regular reminders of proper handwashing technique and prevention methods.
The actions we have taken are consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health departments.
Our Director of Behavioral Services, Tracy LeBaron, recently shared tips for helping individuals with autism while social distancing due to COVID-19. We encourage you to read her suggestions, which may be helpful for speaking with loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities
Important Information Regarding Holiday Visitation Guidance, DDD announcement 11/20:
Thank you for your continued support as we work together to navigate this most challenging and unprecedented public health emergency during this holiday season.
New Jersey Department of Human Services
Division of Developmental Disabilities
Important Information Regarding Temporary Closure of Congregate Day Services, DDD announcement 11/18:
Due to the increased positivity rates and community spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey, the Division has made the difficult decision to again close Division-funded in-person congregate day service facilities.
Effective close of business Wednesday, November 25, 2020 through at least January 19, 2021, all Division-funded in-person congregate day service facilities are directed to close.
Please see Temporary Closure of Congregate Day Services for FAQs and information.
More DDD Resources:
- Frequently Asked Questions on DDD Closures Related to COVID-19 for Individuals, Families and Providers
- DDD COVID-19 Response Help Desk Email: DDD.COVIDemail@example.com.
- DDD-Mandated Day Program closures and DDD-funded community outings advisories
- Subscribe Directly to DDD for Email Updates: DDD.Communications@dhs.nj.gov
NJ Department of Human Services
- DHS COVID-19 Information
- List of DHS Resources – English
- List of DHS Resources – Spanish
- Division of Children and Families (DCF) COVID-19 Information and Resources
New Jersey COVID-19 Information and Testing Centers
- Information Hub
- Find a COVID-19 testing center
- Have general questions about COVID-19? The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the State to provide information to the public on COVID-19
- Call: 2-1-1
- Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253
- Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
- NJ Department of Health COVID-19
- DOH 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-222-1222 or via email at NCOV@doh.nj.gov
Trained healthcare professionals are standing by to answer questions about COVID-19. Calling the hotline is the best way to get answers to your questions about COVID-19. By email, please allow up to 48 hours for a response. *The hotline is for general questions and is not able to assist with locating testing, getting test results, or providing medical advice.
- Contact Information for all local health departments in NJ
Children’s Programs Updates for New Jersey
From the NJ COVID-19 Information Hub:
Child care centers are open for all clients.
If you need help finding child care, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency.
Locations providing remote-learning supervision services for children during the school day must be licensed as child-care centers. To continue operating, existing facilities were required to submit an application for licensure to the Department of Children and Families by October 23, 2020. For more information, refer to DCF’s FAQ or contact DCF’s Office of Licensing at 1-877-667-9845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child care centers must follow all safety guidelines detailed by the Department of Children and Families
Early Intervention Services:
Green Mountain Self-Advocates
Brochure by and for people with disabilities
Jewish Family Service Food Pantry
The food pantry is for anyone struggling to purchase food in Union County. Call 908-352-8375.
Child Mind Institute
Tips for Supporting Kids:
Economic Impact Payments and Social Security Administration Updates
The distribution of federal stimulus checks has begun and will occur automatically with no action required for most people. Adults with annual incomes up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, plus another $500 per child. Some Americans earning more than $75,000 would also receive money if they meet certain qualifications. Click here to access the IRS’s online tool to track your payment.
Payments will be automatically deposited into bank accounts for Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns. If you do not file a federal tax return, click here for more information on how to receive a stimulus check.
** Online Services Remain Available **
All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This decision protects the population we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we are still able to provide critical services.
Our secure and convenient online services remain available at www.socialsecurity.gov. Local offices will also continue to provide critical services over the phone. We are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local governments, and other experts to monitor COVID-19 and will let you know as soon as we can resume in-person service.
If you need help from Social Security:
- First, please use our secure and convenient online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas), print a benefit verification letter, and much more – from anywhere and from any of your devices. We also have a wealth of information to answer most of your Social Security questions online, without having to speak with a Social Security representative in person or by phone. Please visit our online Frequently Asked Questions at www.socialsecurity.gov/ask.
- If you cannot conduct your Social Security business online, please check our online field office locator for specific information about how to directly contact your local office. Your local office still will be able to provide critical services to help you apply for benefits, answer your questions, and provide other services over the phone.
- If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, we will call you to handle your appointment over the phone instead. If you have a hearing scheduled, we will call you to discuss alternatives for continuing with your hearing, including offering a telephonic hearing. Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. Please remember that our employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.
- If you cannot complete your Social Security business online, please call our National 800 Number at 1-800- 772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Our National 800 Number has many automated service options you can use without waiting to speak with a telephone representative. A list of automated telephone services is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/contact/phone.html.
Fraud Advisory from SSA
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19-related office closures. We will not suspend or discontinue benefits because our offices are closed to the public for in-person service. Read the fraud advisory.
Coronavirus Relief Legislation – A Call to Action
People with disabilities are more likely to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to chronic health conditions that can make it harder to cope with and recover from illness. They are also more likely to live in poverty. Around the country, people are facing the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and people with disabilities are particularly in need of support.
Take Action- Reach out to your members of Congress and ask them to pass a new bill to address the needs of Americans with disabilities during the crisis. These needs include:
- Funding to create a Medicaid grant program to support access to at-home and community-based services and to support Direct Support Professionals.
- A permanent reauthorization of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. MFP funds states to move people with disabilities and seniors back into the community, after time in a nursing home or hospital.
- Economic stimulus and raising asset limits. Congress may pass legislation to make direct payments to low-income Americans. People with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid are subject to strict asset limits. Those asset limits must be raised to ensure that people are not at risk of losing vital benefits.
December 4, 2020
Urgent Action Alert from Center for Non-Profits
Tell Congress to include non-profit #Relief4charities provisions in year-end funding packages
Congressional leaders are on a tight deadline to pass a year-end package to fund the federal government.
We must act quickly to press for this package to include the non-profit sector’s #Relief4Charities priorities – critical to allowing non-profits to continue serving communities as we have throughout this pandemic. Priorities include expanding charitable non-profit access to relief and support; strengthening incentives for charitable giving; increasing and extending federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-insured non-profits; and providing additional aid for state and local governments.
Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators Booker and Menendez, and urge them to include the non -profit sector’s #Relief4Charities priorities in any year-end funding or COVID-19 relief.
Share these tweets below and tag the New Jersey Delegation (find their twitter handles here). Use the hashtag #Relief4Charities and feel free to tag us @NJ_Nonprofits. [Note: Twitter will shorten the long web link at the end of each Tweet before sending.]
Communities are relying on #nonprofits more than ever as COVID cases increase across the country. Congress must pass urgent #Relief4Charities so we can continue to meet growing need! More info: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/sites/default/files/documents/nonprofit-community-letter-7-13-2020.pdf
#Nonprofits are facing tough challenges and working to meet increasing need as the COVID crisis continues. Congress MUST pass urgent #Relief4Charities so we can serve those relying on us through this crisis and then help communities recover. https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/sites/default/files/documents/nonprofit-community-letter-7-13-2020.pdf
The COVID crisis has shown how CRITICAL #nonprofits are for communities across the country. We can’t wait – nonprofits need Congress to pass urgent #Relief4Charities NOW! More info: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/sites/default/files/documents/nonprofit-community-letter-7-13-2020.pdf
(More samples here: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/relief4charities-day-of-action)
Email this non-profit community letter to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators or use this sample language. Be sure to adjust the salutation and include your name, title and organization. Feel free to adapt this letter to address the specific ways these issues are affecting your organization and those you serve.
United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund
The United Way has established a COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund to support communities affected by the virus. The fund will help the most vulnerable populations receive critical financial and social service support during this global crisis. Dial 211 to speak to someone about local assistance at any time.
World Institute on Disability
- Read Recommendations for Immediate Action
Regarding: The Rights & Needs of People with Disabilities Who Use Personal Assistance Services & Supports Throughout COVID-19 Planning & Response.
- Sign the Call to Action
Information from the CDC:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its list of symptoms related to COVID-19 to include chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. It cautions that at least two or more of the new symptoms are consistent with COVID-19. Previously, the CDC listed just three known symptoms: shortness of breath, cough and fever. For more information, click here. Please consult your medical provider if you are ill and concerned with the severity of your symptoms.
- Coronavirus information
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet
- People at Higher Risk and Special Populations
- Information for Travelers
- Preventing Spread
- Subscribe to the CDC’s COVID-19 newsletter
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
World Health Organization
COVID-19 Facts and Prevention
Definition: A respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
Transmission: The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Symptoms: Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure, and in some cases death.
Prevention: People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should: Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Proper Hand Washing: