It is with a heavy heart and great weight that I share this message.
As of March 23rd (next Monday) The Center's operations will be on hiatus for at least 2 weeks (thru April 6) with a possible 2 month (8 week) extension.
Due to an obligation and responsibility to public-community health and the role The Center plays in securing the health of those with special needs, we feel now is the time to temporarily postpone operations. Bare with me as I explain a bit about why we feel now is the time.
You may not know this about me but I have been in academic medicine my whole career as a non-physician focused on global health, mainly orthopaedic trauma. Drs. Jay Bender and Zachary Jones our founder and board member respectively are Physicians and leaders facing this public health crisis at their hospitals. Public health is at the root of our purpose and we have been doing our best to respond to the facts responsibility while considering the long term repercussions of what this may mean to all of you, our staff, The Center and the community at large.
You may have been hearing the term "flatten the curve". This is a public health strategy that simply means if we can reduce the number of people infected in the short term and extend the amount of people infected over a longer period of time our healthcare system can better absorb and manage the influx of people needing help (in addition to those already in need). This is critical when facing a pandemic which is what COVID-19 has become. We have a chance NOW as a community and society to avoid a long term painful health and economic crisis if we can dampen the rate of exposure. The reality is that the coronavirus infection which leads to COVID-19 is here, it's not going away anytime soon and it is highly contagious, doubling its infection rate every 3 days. We now know that regardless if symptoms are present (ie fever, cough, shortness of breath) the infection can be passed along, it is estimated that for each person infected they may pass it along to at least 50 more. Currently the CDC has recommended that no more than 10 people gather to limit transmission over the next few weeks. Although at any given day at The Center we have less than 10 people, each one of those people interact with their families and each one of those family members interact with their co-workers, friends ect. So just because your loved one is interacting with the small subset of people at The Center, there is potential exposure by anyone each of those individuals may have been in contact with. Exponentially this grows to a significant number of possible exposures. This is why social distancing is so important. This is why we feel the need to respond and respond NOW is great. Our hope is that by doing our part we can reopen stronger than before and sooner than later. Here is a very good article on the math and science behind flattening the curve.
We highly encourage you and your families to practice extreme social distancing, work from home if you can and limit your interactions with others to only essential activities.
As a team, we are committed to supporting the families we serve. During this hiatus we hope to provide support by:
We are committed to supporting Cristin and Izaiah, our stellar team, as they are the heart of what we do at The Center. We want to make sure we are ready to re-open after the hiatus with leadership that is even stronger to provide excellent care for those we serve. As a Board we are committed to a financial package for the staff through the possibly extended 8 week hiatus. This poses a financial burden on The Center but one we feel is necessary to support those who support the families we serve.
You will see content from me over the coming weeks that promotes advocacy for special needs and how COVID-19 has impacted organizations supporting those most vulnerable, how it is affecting The Center and ways you can help. I humbly ask that you share it with your community.
As the corona virus is highly contagious so are positive messages and if we work together we may be able to cause a different viral effect, one that is positive and strong.
I personally want to emphasize that we are stronger together. This is a unique opportunity to take pause, spend time with those we are closest to and recalibrate on what is important. I personally choose to view this as a gift. It comes at a price. It comes with stress, anxiety and fear. I encourage you to focus on gratitude during this time and practice self-care routines.
If you feel this message or any others I have sent may be of service please feel free to send along, copy and paste in emails or social posts.
As always please reach out if we can be of service and please please take good care! We promise to stay in touch!
Amber Caldwell, MSc
Acting Executive Director
New Transitions Center