Cota launched our emergency preparedness plan when the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 was officially a pandemic. Under the direction of our EPAC (Emergency Preparedness Action Committee), Cota’s workforce shifted into pandemic-mode. There were specific staged plans to support our residential sites offering supportive housing services, including: (1) putting new safety protocols in place to respect physical distancing measures between staff and residents as well as a comprehensive PPE Strategy guided by Public Health recommendations; (2) executing a staff re-deployment strategy to ensure we were properly staffed at each site; and (3) ensuring each site was outfitted with digital tools to allow for video conferencing between sites.
Staff from Bailey House, one of Cota’s Supportive Housing Programs that is still in operation, talk about working onsite during the pandemic. Mark (Supportive Housing Worker) says that there are more tedious tasks – albeit critical – that the team is doing in order to ensure the safety of all. And to date, there have been zero positive cases with residents and staff, something the team celebrates daily.
Mark, his co-worker Dolly, and the weekend staff are working even harder to provide high quality care needed at this time. The on-site Food Program team changed as well to accommodate physical distancing measures and staff and resident needs.
Whatever the challenge, though, everyone agrees that the team has been amazing.
Robin said that he is lucky that his team is so dedicated. He also maintains daily contact with managers at other Cota residential sites across the city to share experiences and support each other.
Bailey House welcomed new staff members to help manage workload as part of the emergency staff re-deployment phase. Individuals from other Cota teams were trained and now provide supports to residents at Bailey House. “The transition was pretty seamless,” said Robin. Mark said that everyone was willing to learn and has been very receptive throughout training.
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