A message from our Executive Director
April 21, 2020
To the West Bay RI community,
I want to share significant updates with you regarding the overall health and welfare of those that we support, our staff and SLA contractors. First, let me say that there is no one that West Bay supports who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who is currently demonstrating COVID-like symptoms. We are very grateful for this and diligent in the continuation of all precautions as determined by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). However, there are currently 4 West Bay staff who have tested COVID-positive. Each of these staff members had not been on shift at the point of symptom onset and test for anywhere between 8-12 days and are considered to be a relatively low risk for spread. Each situation is being monitored closely and all family members and staff associated with these 4 homes have been notified and will be kept abreast of any changes.
We currently have adequate PPE supplies and are expecting continued orders to come in. We have no immediate concerns regarding supply shortage.
If you have been monitoring the news, you will have noticed the increased concern for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in congregate settings, or group homes. West Bay has been part of an organized information campaign to bring attention to the preventive needs regarding health and safety measures for everyone involved. We have continued to focus on our staff as essential healthcare personnel in order to be prioritized for adequate supplies, rapid testing and hazard pay. Much of this is coming to fruition. We have received supply prioritization in the state (hospitals and nursing homes rate as greater priority), we are getting attention from DOH to expedite testing and results for people that we support, as well as our staff (when symptomatic). Additionally, you may have heard the Governor’s announcement that she is intending to ensure a raise for our Direct Support Professionals and for Hazard Pay during this crisis. Several weeks ago, we had raised all of our staff by $1.50 an hour (as a biweekly bonus) and $5.00 an hour additionally for Hazard Pay (for anyone working in a home with people known to have tested positive for COVID-19). In light of the Governor’s recent announcement, we have decided to preemptively raise all of our Direct Support Staff by $2.50 an hour (in the form of a bonus) and by $7.00 an hour for Hazard Pay (if someone is identified as COVID-positive in the home where they work). We want to do everything we can to ensure the safety of everyone involved and to mitigate any potential health issues. We also want to thank our direct support heroes for helping people to stay safe and enjoy their lives as they shelter in place and adjust to the many changes they are faced with.
We will continue to keep you up to date on the most pertinent information as we make our way through this Pandemic. I encourage you to reach out to me or any of our leaders at West Bay for information sharing or support. I sincerely thank you for your contributions to each person West Bay supports and to our community overall.
I wish everyone continued health as we journey forward together,
Gloria M. Quinn