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Posted by Avenues in News on 3/16/2020

March 16, 2020

To Avenues Participants, Families, Volunteers, Employees

From: Robert Okazaki, Executive Director

As you may already know, the Coronavirus COVID-19 is in Illinois and cases have been diagnosed in towns around the Chicago area. However, it must be stressed that as of now, no evidence of Covid 19 have been disclosed or diagnosed among any participants, families, staff and others associated with Avenues to Independence. However, circumstances are rapidly changing and we will notify everyone if any changes occur.

This letter is to let you know how to proceed with your attendance and involvement in programs, services and other activities taking place under the auspices of Avenues to Independence.

Information on the Coronavirus is provided online at and is available from all state and federal public health and disease control centers.

First and foremost, Covid19 is especially dangerous for older individuals, individuals with respiratory problems, and people with compromised immune systems. Many Avenues participants fall into one or more of those categories.

Avenues to Independence, as a state-funded provider of disability support services, will follow all recommended guidelines coming from the Illinois Departments of Public Health and Human Services.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (as well as the flu and other illnesses). Please follow established guidelines to limit any exposure.

The single most important thing you can do - Wash your hands often! And encourage everyone else to do the same. Also avoid touching your face while at work or in public.

Employees and others with authorized entry, who enter an Avenues home or work site will be required to use hand sanitizer when they enter. All persons utilizing an Avenues vehicle will be required to use sanitizer upon entering the vehicle.

If any participant(not an Avenues resident), employee, volunteer, etc., feels sick, ie, has any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, you will not be permitted to be on the premises of any Avenues location. Due to the current shortage of test kits, Avenues does not have the ability to test anyone for Covid 19. Anyone showing these symptoms should see their doctor or medical professional for diagnosis and treatment. Avenues residents with any symptoms of illness will remain at home and be provided with additional monitoring and needed medical support.

Most public health and hospital systems are not recommending emergency room visits unless symptoms are severe or more life threatening. At the first sign of any minor symptoms, individuals should self-quarantine at home, stay vigilant about any changes and seek medical care if symptoms worsen.

Information will be posted at all Avenues locations regarding entry. At this time, and until further notice, entry to all Avenues residential programs will be limited to the individuals who live there and their associated staff. No outside visitors, including family, will be permitted to visit. Home visits for Avenues residents will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However, should circumstances change at Avenues, or if it is suspected that Covid 19 exposure has occurred, individuals on home visits will need to be prepared for an extended home visit. A timely return to Avenues during the Covid 19 outbreak cannot be guaranteed.

In addition, any elective community outings for Avenues residents will be suspended until further notice. This includes any recreational, social and other events that are not hosted by Avenues to Independence.

Activities of daily living outside of an Avenues residence, ie, shopping, banking, medical appointments, will still be permitted. However, participants must adhere to strict protocols regarding hand-washing upon their return to their Avenues residence.

Avenues residents who are employed in the community, may continue to work unless notified by their employer. Again, individuals returning from their workplace must also follow hand-washing and other re-entry requirements.

Avenues is requiring participant, families, employees, volunteers and others to contact us if you have traveled to, or had contact with anyone who has traveled to any of the countries identified by the U.S. State Department as "Do Not Travel". Anyone who has done so within the last 60 days should notify us immediately. Testing will be arranged for Avenues participants and staff who fall into this category.

As of March 17, 2020, Avenues Day programs will be closed to all participants and visitors. Day program staff will still report for work and possbile reassignment. This is a State of Illinois, Department of Human Services mandate and will be in place until April 15th.

No change in any participant’s status with Avenues will take place due to an extended absence for any reason during the duration of the Covid 19 outbreak.

Any Avenues participant, employee, volunteer or related household member with a positive diagnosis of Covid 19 must immediately contact Avenues with this information. If you are notified that you may have come into contact with a Covid 19 carrier, you must get tested and released from quarantine before returning to any Avenues related activity.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Avenues to Independence.

We appreciate everyone's effort and cooperation to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Center for Disease Control-Corona Virus 19 Information

Illinois Departments of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities

Illinois DHSDD Community Based Guidelines

Illinois Department of Public Health Long-Term Care Facilities Guidance

Community Organization Guidance

Specific to Avenues Employees

Blue Cross Blue Shield Corona Coverage

Aurora Advocate Health System Corona Tests and Treatment


Tags: covid-19 , coronavirus , chicago

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