We have received notice from OPWDD that effective immediately we need to stop any visitors to our residences except when medically or clinically necessary. We are distributing signs in all our residences and staff are being briefed on the necessary procedures. We are personally contacting families about this new order. We understand that this is an added disruption to our homes and families, but we must follow all rulings by the state to keep everyone safe.
As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all day habilitation programs have been closed.
Community Based Services offers the following resources for Covid-19:
A message from Vicki Sylvester, CEO:
May 8, 2020
Dear CBS Community,
Hello, I hope this update finds you well. As of today, I am glad to report that our ten residences are doing well. Currently, there are no active COVID -19 cases. Anyone living with us who had been ill is now recovered and out of isolation. Nine of our staff members who were previously out of work due to illness have returned. I am feeling fortunate and relieved. This is a credit our wonderful staff who have done tremendously well at following all recommended COVID-19 protocols since the pandemic began.
However, this is not the time to let our guard down. We are continuing to monitor each residents’ health for signs and symptoms of illness, and each staff continues to complete a self-assessment before entering our homes. We must continue our vigilance in our fight to stop the spread of this virus which is ravaging congregate care facilities across the globe, and many very close to us. Neighboring agencies have reported that some of their homes have had every resident test positive, and sadly there have been many deaths throughout the State. So CBS will remain steadfast in our current procedures. So far, those we are supporting seem accepting of our quarantine status, as staff are creating a calming atmosphere and providing creative activities in the houses. What we’re doing seems to be working and I am confident that we will get through this period stronger and better than ever.
Although our schedule programs and supports have experienced interruption, we are still providing services in the community as many of the people we support still want and need our services. On March 16th OPWDD closed our Day Habilitation Program, however we are providing weekly contact with all of our participates and running daily zoom classes which include life skill development and money management made fun with staffs creative approach. Additionally zoom classes take place from our newly constructed green house at our farm and music groups that engage the entire group. We encourage everyone to attend.
Thank you to those who have given donations to help us offset the many significant Covid-19 related expenses. It gave us the ability to give hazard pay to the staff at those houses with COVID-19 positive cases to encourage and thank them for coming to work. They are our everyday heroes and our heartfelt thanks goes out to them. Donations continue to be needed for the on-going purchase of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Now that we are COVID-19 free, we must try to stay that way. Please continue to support our efforts either by sending a check to our main office or electronically through our website.
This week marks the celebration and appreciation of our dedicated nursing staff. We would not be doing so well if not for them. My deepest gratitude to Simone Lawrence, Director Of Nursing and our Residence Nurses; Valya Dessaure, Stephanie Graap, Ann King, Sarah Madureira, Bernadette Montesarchio and Debbie Pihota. And again, I would like to commend and thank our front line staff. They are the backbone to everything we do and I’m grateful and amazed at their daily commitment to all the people we support, especially during these difficult months.
Lastly and unfortunately, please be advised that we are postponing our annual Spring Fling until a safer time.
Wishing you health and wellness, now and always.
Dr. Vicki Sylvester, CEO
A message from Vicki Sylvester, CEO:
April 15, 2020
I hope you are all staying well through this difficult time. Because we provide vital supports to people with developmental disabilities who are depending on us during this critical time, Community Based Services is considered an Essential Service Provider. As such, we are exempt from the mandate to have employees stay home from work. However, as New York continues to be in crisis, CBS will be continuing to enforce our quarantine procedures until further notice.
Since 3/16/20, none of the people living with us have attended community based day programs. Alternate activities continue to be offered in the house and all scheduled meetings are either being postponed or held via phone conference. Other than our 10 houses, all CBS community programs, (except for a small percentage of some community habilitation and respite services which we deliver to people not living in a certified residence), were closed on 3/17/20. Since 3/18/20, only staff who are essential to providing care have been able to enter our residences. Our homes are not accepting visitors. Family members, vendors, delivery people and non-essential employees will not be granted access. This decision is considered best practice based on available guidance from the DOH and OPWDD and an abundance of caution for those we support and our dedicated staff.
Our main office at 3 Fields Lane and our alternate building at 31 Fields lane in North Salem are closed to all visitors. Only essential staff with security codes have access to the building. Mail and package deliveries continue to accepted during regular business hours. However, there are many critical functions to running our agency, such as payroll, billing, mail deliveries, etc. that require on going attention. In an effort to limit the number of people in our office, remote work assignments are being offered to applicable staff. Essential administrative functions will continue to make sure our critical systems are running and access to crucial supplies is available.
To date, we have had 6 individuals living at 4 out of our 10 residences test positive for COVID-19. Several of these people were hospitalized, but as of today only 1 remains hospitalized and in stable condition. Everyone else effected by the virus is showing signs of significant improvement. Each person testing positive is being isolated within his/her home, in compliance with the guidance we have received.
Several of our Staff have also tested positive and are at home recovering. Slowly, after being cleared by a Doctor, some are now returning to work, but sadly, one of our staff has passed away. Of course this was a difficult blow for all of us and we are keeping her family in our thoughts during this difficult time.
Everyone living with us continues to be well cared for by a dedicated team of nurses and of course many reliable, fearless DSP staff who continue to come to work daily. At this time, 6 of our 10 residences are free of the virus and we continue to do everything we can to prevent the spread. I am relieved to report that no new cases have been reported in the last week.
We have provided a lot of training, especially in those homes that are directly dealing with positive COVID-19 cases. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is not in abundance, but we are continually ordering what we can find, and whatever comes in is being quickly distributed to our houses. We have instituted a pay differential for staff working at those houses with positive Covid-19 cases. This is to thank them and to encourage more staff to come to work during this time when everyone has some reasonable fear of this unpredictable disease.
Trying to stay ahead of this pandemic remains costly. We continue to incur significant expenses for personal protective equipment, cleaning products and disposable paper goods. If you were planning to make any contribution to CBS this year, now would be a very good time. As we have not yet been given any idea when we will be able to safely reopen the community programs that generate so much of our revenue. All donations, either mailed to our main office or submitted electronically through our website, are greatly appreciated.
I am so proud of our many Direct Support Staff, House Supervisors and House Nurses who continue showing up for work every day, putting themselves at risk to continue to provide essential services to the people we support. CBS is continuing to do our best to keep everyone informed about what we know as this national health crisis evolves. I can only hope that our current situation comes to an end soon.
Below are some COVID-19 resources which you may find helpful. If you have any specific questions, please direct them to your House Supervisor or House Nurse. Of course I am here to help as well and I will continue to keep you apprised of our status at CBS. I sincerely hope that you and those close to you remain well.
Vicki Sylvester Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
For additional information, please visit the following websites:
Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
New York State Department of Health (DOH)
DOH 24/7 Hotline Phone Number: 1-888-364-3065
General Information and Updates
To receive regular updates in English text: COVID to 692-692
To receive regular updates in Spanish text COVIDESP to 692-692
Westchester County Department of Health
Hotline Phone Number: 211
Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)