Developmental Disability Service Provider
August 11, 2020
To: All Stakeholders, Families and Guardians of those supported by Duet,
The COVID – 19 pandemic is still evolving and I want to give everyone an update on future plans and other pertinent information.
Our agency as of 8/1/2020 only had 21 people total with a positive COVID diagnosis. This put us at 1.5 % positive diagnosis for people supported and employees. The time frame was March – July.
Last week, we saw the most positive diagnoses in a single week since the beginning of the pandemic. We had a total of 6 people, 5 employees and 1 person supported, that had a positive test result. Bringing our total positive diagnosis since March to 27. Considering we have approximately 1400 employees and people supported, these are still low numbers, however any positive diagnosis is more than we want to experience.
Throughout Nebraska the number of positive cases continue to rise. This has caused us to pause our reopening plans. We have not advanced beyond Phase 1 of the reopening plans for our offices and day sites. Currently, we have about 20% of the people we support who have returned. They are spread out between 15 day locations. The people that have returned do not have some of the concerning co-morbidities that makes COVID-19 more dangerous. As an agency, we our honoring each of the people we support and their family’s choices if they are not ready to return to a day location. Duet will continue to provide services in people’s homes or postpone services if that is what is best for each person. We are also holding spots for people, so that they can be assured that when this pandemic is over, everyone has a place to return. Our original plan was to slowly phase into reopening to be back to 100% operational by the time Appendix K expires on Sept. 7th. If you are not familiar with Appendix K, this is an addendum to the regulations that allows Duet to provide services to people in alternative settings. Therefore, Duet is able to partially reopen day service locations, while still providing day services in people’s homes. The State has asked CMS (Centers for Medicaid Services) for an extension to this regulation addendum until December 31st. The State is optimistic that this extension will be granted as the language that was originally approved has not changed. This is an important step to keeping everyone safe as the CDC is predicting that we may not see a large enough decline in the COVID curve to allow full reopening until, possibly, June 2021.
The Agency continues to limit the number of people going into homes and day sites. This includes limiting what employees go into each home and discouraging State surveyors and State employees from entering homes unless necessary. We continue to discourage all non-essential activities in the community. We have also taken a more assertive stance on employee travel outside of Nebraska since according to the CDC, 35 of the 50 states are considered high risk states for contracting COVID.
The Agency recently received a grant for $65,000 to assist with the cost of COVID related expenses. This is excellent news since none of the PPE necessary to keep everyone safe was a budgeted expense.
We continue to maintain a good stock of masks, sanitary cleaning supplies, disposable gowns and face shields. These are required for certain situations, but always available for any employee or visitor who requests these.
We will be sending a survey to each of you in the very near future requesting input on how we have done as an agency to keep you up to date on measures we are taking for COVID.
We strive to keep each of you informed and if you have ideas on additional measures we can take, we welcome your input.
Thanks everyone for continued patience in this disruption to services while the Agency does all it can to minimize exposure and keep all involved with Duet as safe and healthy as possible.
Debbie Herbel, Agency Executive Director
Duet offers a range of services to support, nurture and guide Nebraskan children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities toward lives of independence. We work closely with individuals and their families to offer them customized, loving care that caters to their unique needs. Our mission is to support, encourage and empower people to lead lives of learning and fulfillment.
We offer a wide range of services to support the people we support by uniting and empowering together.
The Eastern Nebraska Human Services Agency
Looking for a meaningful career that will give your life a sense of purpose as you help others realize the dream of independent living? We are always seeking compassionate, dedicated individuals eager to help people lead dignified and successful lives.
We offer competitive salary and benefits packages as well as a fun, fast-paced work environment that allows you to grow your knowledge and skills while making a meaningful difference in people’s lives. DUET is an equal opportunity employer.