Important Updates from Outreach Related to the Coronavirus and COVID-19
Please bookmark or check this page regularly as updates will be made as new developments are rapidly emerging. Below you will find updates on what Outreach is doing as an organization, information and guidance for clients, students, loved ones as well as informational resources for all to share. You may also follow us on our social media accounts for updates.
Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
As leaders in behavioral healthcare, Outreach wants to assure you – our community of clients, families, students, staff, supporters, and partners – that we are doing everything we can to keep our doors open to continue in the provision of our life-saving services.
During this time, Outreach is also making every effort to avoid inciting unnecessary panic or anxiety among the clients and families we serve, and we are taking every precautionary measure to protect them – along with our employees – during this ever-evolving situation.
Outreach is actively monitoring information provided by key government, regulatory and local entities. In the interest of protecting the health and safety of our community, the following have been implemented.
Outreach’s Facilities and Treatment Services
- At this time, Outreach’s facilities are operational. We are monitoring for symptoms in clients, students, visitors, and staff. We are taking proactive steps to keep all in our facilities safe while serving the needs of our community. We continue to actively consult the recommendations made by the CDC as well as guidance by the New York State agencies: OASAS, DOH, and OMH.
- Appointments for assessments, admissions and individual counseling are being made and services are being conducted. Group counseling services have been temporarily discontinued. If you or a loved one is in need of services, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- All visitors – outpatient and adult residential clients, family members, guests – are being screened with Outreach’s questionnaire per OASAS guidelines.
- New! Many of our outpatient services are available now via telepractice. Please see our flyer for more details.
- If you are currently a client of Outreach, please get in touch with your primary counselor as soon as you are able to provide: updated contact information, information on whether you have phone and/or internet access.
- Required cleaning and sanitation of our facilities, including waiting areas, office spaces, common areas, group rooms, has been increased and enhanced by Outreach’s maintenance and porter staff.
- We have asked that Outreach’s community (our staff, clients, students, partners) continue to maintain the level of professionalism that we all pride ourselves in, and extend to each other and to those we serve and interact with. We thank all for the extraordinary ability to uphold these values and believe we can work together to decrease fear and avoid stigmatizing people who may or may not be connected to COVID-19.
Outreach’s Training and Community Engagement Activities
- As of March 16th, Outreach Training Institute (OTI)’s CASAC classes have been cancelled for the time being. We are in constant communication with OASAS to identify potential alternatives. Effective May 4th, OTI’s CASAC classes are offered online via WebEx, until state and local guidelines permit the return to in-person training. We are able to receive new applications and conduct interviews virtually, and have scholarships! For more information, visit our CASAC training page.
- Professional Development trainings offered at Outreach’s facilities have been suspended for the time being and we are actively looking at alternative dates, and providing these via distance learning. Future trainings may be subject to rescheduling. However, we continue to collect registrations, and are available to answer inquiries via email.
- In-person meetings internally within Outreach and with external community partners, where possible, have been transitioned to virtual meetings (via WebEx) or conference calls.
- Events and gatherings in the near and not-so-near future are either being postponed, or under consideration for postponement. We will keep all informed through this web page, as well as by direct (virtual) contact.
As in the case of other communicable diseases, with the flu or COVID-19, regular and everyday preventative actions and precautions are effective. Outreach asks that all continue to practice and remind loved ones of the following:
- Remember to wash your hands frequently, and thoroughly (20 seconds), especially after taking public transit. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes) especially after being in public places (again, wash your hands).
- Please impress upon the importance of the hygienic steps above to your family members (especially children) and loved ones.
- Additional preventative measures can be found on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html
- Where possible, avoid & cancel travel to any countries that have been flagged by CDC (Level 1-3). (TIP: Do bookmark this link and check it regularly as this situation is rapidly changing.)
Thank you for your cooperation and for serving as an advocate for your own health, as well as the health of your loved ones, and all community members served by Outreach.
For more information, consider consulting these additional webpage resources*, as well as virtual resources available to you to help you through this time:
Information about the pandemic:
- Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/
- Travel: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html
- COVID-19: What is Stigma and What Causes It? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fstigma-faq.html
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Frequently Asked Questions – Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#prevention
- Prevention, Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
- Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) FAQ for Businesses and Employers https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/novel-coronavirus-faq-for-businesses.pdf
- Tips from SAMHSA on Social Distancing https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4894.pdf
- Tips and support from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on coping with stress during a time like this: https://files.constantcontact.com/c8f99fe8001/c38ff8a1-9207-4a2b-b674-179dfa7feaf3.pdf
- Additional guidance from OASAS:Visit the OASAS website
In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms. Outreach will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Virtual recovery support resources:
- Online Intergroup – Alcoholics Anonymous http://aa-intergroup.org/directory.php
- 12-Step Online – Online AA Meetings https://www.12step-online.com/meetings/online-aa-meetings/
- Narcotics Anonymous – Web, Phoneline and other Virtual NA Meetings https://na.org/?ID=virtual_meetings
- Smart Recovery https://www.smartrecovery.org/community/
- 12 Step Online Meetings https://www.12step.org/social/online-meetings/
- Friends of Bill W https://www.facebook.com/groups/41081625962/
- Friends of Bill W and Dr Bob https://www.facebook.com/groups/523386051371019/
- Friends of Bill and Bob https://www.facebook.com/groups/2247449301/
- Alcoholics Anonymous https://www.facebook.com/groups/2204624657/
*Please note that this is a collection of external resources for information sharing purposes. With the exception of OASAS, which is the State Agency that certifies and provides regulatory oversight of Outreach’s treatment and training programs, these resources have no direct affiliation with Outreach.