A Message from Arthur Palevsky

May 6, 2020

Dear ILA Families,

As you will note above, embedded in ILA’s logo is “A Culture of Caring.” It’s more than just a slogan; it’s our mission and our guiding principle.  It’s our way of life.    
With New York State’s closing of day programs more than 1 month ago, a positive step towards health and safety, Individuals have been quarantined 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It is awesome to witness how well our Individuals have adjusted.  I see socially distant meals and activities, and as best as can be tolerated the use of PPEs. I say this with great pride, which is how I hope you are experiencing this as well. 

Also with the closing of programs, our residential staff have become day service providers, and our day program staff have become residential providers.  The transition was seamless, and also awesome to have witnessed.  Staring directly into the face of COVID-19, ILA’s staff come to work with a “rarin’ to go”, positive attitude. This goes for Direct Care and Support Professionals, On-site Administration, Field Administration and Central Office Administration. So it is no surprise that our staff continue to be nothing short of amazing. We must all thank them for their continuous care of our Individuals. 
All along ILA has followed the guidance of the NYS Department of Health and the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.   We thank them for disseminating essential information which has been of great assistance in keeping your loved ones healthy.  Additionally, we secured enough (currently) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through suppliers and donors to make it possible for our people to adhere to the central principles of the State’s advice. WEAR MASKS.  PPEs, though, are a changing landscape to which we are providing continual attention. 

Regarding masks, of particular note is that this past Thursday, ILA received an unsolicited donation of 100 hand-sewn masks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The materials used for the masks are typically used by the museum to conserve works of art.  The materials are now used to conserve human life.  New Yorkers helping New Yorkers. 

A few facts: Over the past week and one half, there has been no new reports of Individuals testing positive for COVID-19. Over the same time period, there has been one report of a staff member testing positive, and one report of a staff member who was medically cleared to return to work testing positive.  This is a downward trend of infections, but not an indication that we will lessen our efforts, nor an indication that we are out of the woods.  All Individuals who have tested positive and are convalescing either in our homes or in a rehabilitation center are progressing well.  Some are cleared from isolation. Of the two hundred and forty seven ILA beds, seventeen Individuals tested positive. Our census is lower than the number of beds.  Of the approximately seven hundred employees of ILA, thirty-eight tested positive.  Many have been medically cleared to return to work.  Information from our statistical review yields that there is not a contagion outbreak in any of our homes correlated to the presence within a home of an Individual released from isolation or a staff member returning to work.  Bear in mind that Individuals and likely staff are tested only if they display symptoms of COVID-19.  And as we all are aware, most sadly, over these past few months we have lost four Individuals to COVID-19. There are statistics I can share of the age or underlying conditions of the Individuals, but no matter.  Each life was precious.   

Going forward, we will continue to follow the highest standards achievable for PPEs, social distancing and sanitation.  We are confident in the measures we’ve taken to keep our Individuals and employees as safe as possible. We will continue to respond to newly issued guidance’s from NYS and work to keep our homes positive places to be during this time. We thank you for your support as we continue to learn and ensure progress is made daily.

Arthur

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