The Chairman of the COVID task force, Al Frugoli, sent the message below to Incompass staff last week on January 28, 2021.
Dear Care Champions:
The numbers are in! We were able to vaccinate 177 staff and individuals this week during our vaccination clinics with Long Term Pharmacy Solutions (LTPS)! Woohoo!!! We are so grateful that so many of you were able to receive the first dose of the vaccine this week, and we will be in touch with details for the February booster shot clinics in the coming weeks.
In this week’s task force update, we’re sharing a recap of our first Incompass vaccine clinics, important resources on the statewide vaccination process, and updates on our own COVID protocols.
The Vaccine Clinic:
The LTPS team has conducted a number of these clinics, and remarked on how impressed they were with our team! The clinical tandem of Alicia Mordach and Chris Snell specifically want to recognize a few members of the team who went above and beyond to ensure we had a smooth process:
The consensus among Care Champions was some sore arms the next day for sure, but no major side-effects from the shot. Our group home residents were fortunate that our highly-skilled residential nursing team was in the observation room keeping an eye on them after their shot and monitoring them this week:
For those who couldn’t attend and wish to be vaccinated, all individual-facing Incompass staff are now eligible to receive the vaccine under the latest Phase 1 guidelines. While we’re actively working with LTPS to procure more doses for another clinic, at this time we don’t know when – or if – we’ll be able to hold another one. The state has opened numerous vaccine clinics where eligible members of the population can sign up to be vaccinated. While not every clinic requires it, if you need proof of employment, you can reach out to human resources.
You can view a list of vaccine clinic locations here, and download the self-attestation form for eligibility here. I recommend you pay close attention to the criteria at each individual site, as some are restricted to residents of a town/city or are only serving senior citizens. Nearly all of them require an appointment to be made in advance through the listed website as well; they aren’t accepting walk-ins. The Governor announced this week that he anticipates having 165 clinics statewide by the end of next month, so check back regularly as more sites in our area hopefully come online.
COVID Safety Protocols, Testing, and Updates:
Remember, while this is an important step forward, everyone who has received the vaccine must continue to follow all of the COVID protocols at Incompass. The vaccine does not prevent the spread of coronavirus, so wearing a mask, socially distancing, reporting symptoms, etc. is critical to protect not only yourself but those around you. (And remember that KN95 masks must be worn at all times in program areas.) We’ll continue to do this #ForEachOther, as the health and safety of all of you and the people you support remains our top priority.
On that note, day programs in our Parker Street facility were suspended yesterday for 14 days after we got word of a positive staff test on Monday. The staff member is asymptomatic but had reported interactions with each of our three Parker cohorts in the days prior to the positive test. We are following our own protocols around exposure – meaning that each of the cohorts and respective DSPs are undergoing testing and need to isolate until February 8 to prevent an outbreak. The day program facilities will also undergo a deep cleaning during this period. We are working on engaging with our participants virtually over the next two weeks to help with the transition, and look forward to welcoming them back!
These are difficult decisions, but taking the necessary precautions is our best defense against an outbreak. And your continued cooperation and vigilance is absolutely a key reason for our success.
That’s all for this week! Keep getting tested. Keep being vigilant. Keep self-reporting. And keep being hopeful. While Chelmsford and Lawrence remain in the “high-risk” designation, the statewide positivity rate dropped below 5.0% last week for the first time since November, and we’re hopeful that’s a sign of things to come. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that we will gather again someday and it will be something to celebrate!
“The end of 2019 is upon us… but the truth of the matter is, I’m far too excited about the year ahead for LifeLinks CLASS to look back!” –Jean Phelps, December 16, 2019
Dear Incompass Family:
Yep, that quote was me one year ago! Actually, last year I was writing my annual message to all of you from England, where I spent the holidays with my new grandson! And that was on the heels of another fun Annual Holiday Party at Lenzi’s! So yeah, safe to say my quote about 2020 hasn’t aged well, to say the least (including the LifeLinks CLASS reference)!
So I thought I should take the opposite approach this year in my holiday message to you. I know it was a challenging year, but I’m going to look back. Because despite the hardships, we have a lot to be proud of.
First and foremost, my heart goes out to anyone who’s been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who have lost loved ones. And to our Care Champions who continue to work on the front lines at the height of the pandemic to provide care and support to the people we serve: thank you. You are not only essential, but you are an inspiration to so many at Incompass and beyond!
I think at some point down the line, when people ask me the theme of 2020, I’m going to say “overcoming.” We faced every obstacle you could imagine this year. And we faced it head-on…as a team. And our community is better for it.
But let’s not forget…we managed to take several steps forward along the way. I mean, look at this list!
and most importantly, we all worked together with our COVID-19 task force to keep all of our individuals and staff safe and healthy!
Now, did we have some setbacks? You bet. But you know what? The way we rose to the challenge this year and dusted ourselves off every time we were knocked down, tells me something about Incompass Care Champions.
We are resilient. We are dedicated. And we are stronger together.
I want you all to enjoy the holiday season. I know it will be different this year, but memories will still be made. So be safe, be happy, and be smart. And get ready for the year ahead. The vaccines are coming. And we will be able to be together again…I promise.
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!
Today is voting day across the country, and polling stations around the nation and across our region are bustling with activity! Given the work that we do, and the hundreds of people and families we actively support, civic engagement is obviously core to our culture and mission. The work we do has a profound and positive impact on our communities!
Just a reminder that if you’re a registered voter and intend to vote today in Massachusetts, polls will be open until 8 PM and you can easily determine your polling location on the Massachusetts website. I know that a number of you have already voted, either through early voting or by mail, and you can check the status of your mail-in ballot here.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the intense passion that the election cycle has generated across the political spectrum. But Incompass Human Services is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning that our organization will never engage in politics, endorse a candidate, or support a campaign. I just want you to know that the act of voting itself is not a partisan issue, and I support your right to participate no matter which candidates you may support.
Two of the greatest aspects of this organization are our diversity and our unwavering commitment to the people we serve. We’re #CareChampions for crying out loud! And because of that, I think – no, I know – that nothing will get in our way of delivering on our mission. You have exemplified the #ForEachOther mindset that has enabled us to continue to be there for those who need us most – when they need us most.
Also, let’s not forget we’re still in the midst of a pandemic! As Dan pointed out in our bulletin on Friday, both Chelmsford and Lawrence are classified as “high-risk” communities. Governor Baker announced new restrictions just yesterday aimed to slow down the spread, as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. So if you are voting today, please be sure that you are doing so safely. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands.
It’s an honor to lead such a talented and passionate group of Care Champions. Keep up the great work, everyone!
New strategic plan. New culture statement. New brand. New group homes. New virtual programs. You notice a theme here? So I thought, why not try a new format for my monthly message to all of you! So I asked Dan to facilitate a little Q&A session where I was able to touch on many of the questions I’ve received in the past few weeks.
Now, believe it or not, there are some of you out there who don’t have the time or inclination to watch to me talk for 20 minutes! (Shocking, I know!) So if any topic is of particular interest to you, feel free to watch in three-minute increments below:
Hopefully, you’re still with me! I’d love to hear from you now…do you prefer this type of communication? Are there questions you have for me? Are there others in the organization you want to hear from? We have a big year ahead of us, and our ability to work together for the people we support will be the key to maximizing our impact.
Remember, we’re all care champions – even me, the least valuable employee! ? And we’re all working #ForEachOther to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
LifeLinks CLASS partnered with Fallon Health last Friday, August 21 to host a pop-up COVID-19 testing site at our main office in Chelmsford. This was one of the largest testings that Fallon has completed to date, with nearly 400 participants.
The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has various area offices located across Massachusetts. Individuals who receive services under DDS were encouraged to register for the testing, as well as the staff who work for human services agencies in this region. LifeLinks CLASS Care Champions took the lead on getting tested #ForEachother in order to ensure the continued safety of everyone we support.
A big thank you to our Care Champions, Stacie and Melanie, for coordinating this pop-up!
No worries if you missed this opportunity — there will be an additional seven pop-up testing sites in the near future! The details on dates and locations will be available at a later date.