July 15 

Guidance for Businesses Continuing Operations (via CDC)

Maintain healthy business operations

  • Reintegrating exposed, asymptomatic workers to onsite operations, while discussed in the critical infrastructure guidance, should not be misinterpreted as always being the first or most appropriate option to pursue in managing critical work tasks.
    • Home isolation may still be the most preferred and viable option for exposed workers.
  • Minimize the number of workers present at worksites, balancing the need to protect workers with support for continuing critical operations.
  • Anticipate and monitor staff absences due to illness or exposure by:
    • Identifying and prioritizing job functions essential for continuous operation,
    • Cross-training employees to perform critical job functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent, and
    • Matching critical job functions with other equally skilled and available workers who have not experienced an exposure to COVID-19.
  • Consider special accommodations (e.g., telework, reassignment of duties to minimize contact with others) for employees who are members of a vulnerable population.

Reduce transmission among employees and the public

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Immediately send any employee who becomes sick during the day home or to seek further care from a healthcare provider.
  • Have sick employees follow CDC-recommended guidance. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
  • Pre-screen employees (e.g., measuring the employee’s temperature and assessing symptoms of COVID-19 prior to starting work) and perform regular medical monitoring (e.g., the employee should self-monitor for symptoms or follow up with the employer’s occupational health program) of exposed workers.
  • Ensure exposed workers wear a facemask or cloth face covering in accordance with CDC and OSHA guidance and any state or local requirements.
  • Implement social distancing to minimize the chances of workers exposing one another.
  • Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Maintain a healthy work environment

  • Work with facility maintenance staff to enhance ventilation by increasing air exchanges in rooms.
  • Modify workstation layouts to ensure all employees remain at least six feet apart.
  • Close common areas where employees are likely to congregate and interact or enforce social distancing protocols and use other methods to physically separate employees.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning frequently touched surfaces and shared objects to minimize the potential for cross contamination; for example, clean before and after shifts or immediately before and after the use of shared objects.
  • Communicate with your employees about job stress related to COVID-19 and ways to cope with that stress.

Spanish 

Implementar medidas sanitarias en las operaciones comerciales

  • Si bien esto se plantea en la guía de infraestructura crítica, la reincorporación a la actividad de trabajadores asintomáticos que han estado expuestos no debería tergiversarse y entenderse como la primera opción o la más adecuada al gestionar tareas de trabajo críticas. 
    • El aislamiento en casa sigue siendo la opción más viable y preferida para los trabajadores expuestos.
  • Reduzca al mínimo la cantidad de trabajadores presentes en el lugar de trabajo y busque un equilibrio entre la necesidad de proteger a los trabajadores y el apoyo para continuar con las operaciones críticas.
  • Anticípese y monitoree el ausentismo del personal debido a una enfermedad o exposición: 
    • Identifique y priorice las funciones laborales esenciales para el funcionamiento ininterrumpido,
    • Realice una capacitación cruzada de los empleados para llevar a cabo las funciones laborales críticas de modo tal que el lugar de trabajo pueda seguir operando incluso ante la ausencia de empleados clave, y
    • Asigne funciones críticas a otros trabajadores disponibles e igualmente calificados que no hayan estado expuestos al COVID-19.
  • Considere puestos especiales (p. ej., teletrabajo, reasignación de tareas para minimizar el contacto con los demás) para los empleados que son miembros de una población vulnerable.

Reducir la transmisión entre los empleados y el público

  • Aliente de manera activa a sus empleados enfermos a que se queden en sus casas.
  • Envíe de inmediato a su casa a cualquier empleado que se enferme durante la jornada laboral o haga que consulte con un proveedor de atención médica.
  • Exíjales a los empleados enfermos que sigan la guía recomendada por los CDC. Los empleados no deben regresar al trabajo hasta reunir los criterios para  suspender el aislamiento, que deberán verificar en una consulta con proveedores de atención médica y los departamentos de salud estatal y local.
  • Someta a los empleados a una evaluación previa (p. ej., controlar la temperatura y evaluar los síntomas del COVID-19 de los empleados antes de que comiencen a trabajar) y realice un monitoreo médico regular (p. ej., el empleado debería llevar un control personal de los síntomas o seguir el programa de salud ocupacional del empleador) a los trabajadores expuestos. 
  • Asegúrese de que los trabajadores expuestos usen una mascarilla o una cubierta de tela para la cara de conformidad con las guías de los CDC y la OSHA y cualquier otro requisito estatal o local.
  • Implemente prácticas de distanciamiento social para minimizar las probabilidades de exposición al virus entre trabajadores.
  • Instruya a sus empleados acerca de cómo reducir la propagación del COVID-19.

Mantener un entorno de trabajo saludable

  • Plantee al personal de mantenimiento la posibilidad de mejorar la ventilación aumentando la circulación de aire en las salas.
  • Modifique la disposición de las estaciones de trabajo para asegurarse de que todos los empleados mantengan una distancia de al menos seis pies.
  • Cierre las áreas comunes donde los empleados suelen reunirse e interactuar o refuerce los protocolos de distanciamiento social y utilice otros métodos para separar físicamente a los empleados.
  • Haga que la limpieza de los objetos compartidos y las superficies que se tocan con frecuencia se realice más a menudo para minimizar la posibilidad de contaminación cruzada; por ejemplo, realizar la limpieza antes y después de cada turno o justo antes e inmediatamente después de utilizar objetos que se comparten.
  • Comuníquese con los empleados y hable acerca del estrés laboral relacionado con el COVID-19 y las maneras de sobrellevar ese estrés.

June 15

Reduce Transmission Among Employees

Encourage sick employees to stay home

Employees who have symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home. Other COVID-19 symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

 

Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers. Learn more at tinyurl.com/vgx83aq.

 

Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor. Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended precautions at tinyurl.com/sdf3p46.

June 1 

Self-Screening for COVID-19 

  1. Are you experiencing symptoms?
    1. Symptoms may appear in 2–14 days after exposure to the virus.
    2. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea
    3. Have you returned from international travel or a cruise within the last 14 days and have any of the symptoms above?
  2. Have you returned from international travel or a cruise within the last 14 days and have any of the symptoms above? 
  3. Have you been around someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you answered "YES" to any of the above questions, please contact your healthcare provider or your county health department (CHD). Call 1-866-779-6121. 

Guidance from the Florida Department of Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Self monitor for fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms for 14 days.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Delay any additional travel plans until no longer sick.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing; throw the tissue in the trash.

May 12 

Floridians Prioritize Use of Telehealth for Behavioral Health Support

The past few months have brought unprecedented challenges and changes in response to the novel coronavirus, but in this time of uncertainty, Florida Behavioral Health Association (FBHA) notes a powerful behavior shift among its  provider members – a dramatic uptick in telehealth visits with patients, cementing remote services as a welcome option for Floridians to continue prioritizing their mental health and well-being during this time.

“We are strongly encouraging fellow Floridians to connect with their behavioral health provider during these times and to utilize the telehealth and remote services offered by so many providers,” said FBHA President and CEO Melanie Brown-Woofter. “May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are inspired to see that behavioral health has emerged as a prominent topic of conversation statewide, especially as we all feel the broad impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, not only physically but also emotionally. This health crisis demanded a swift and decisive shift to telehealth services, ensuring seamless continuity of care and increased access for patients during this time of crisis, and our provider members have risen to the challenge.”

During the last three months, FBHA provider members have seen the use of telehealth enable  patients to be seen more frequently by their mental health and substance abuse provider, and with decreased wait times for services, resulting in  increased patient and family engagement. Telehealth is easy to use, as patients can log on from the comfort of their home without juggling other commitments or responsibilities that may have previously resulted in a no-show or appointment cancellation. Telehealth also largely eliminates obstacles to care for patients, such as the lack of access to transportation, financial issues and time restrictions.

Recently, about 92 percent of FBHA’s members surveyed reported that telehealth has improved services for patients, and almost 70 percent have seen a decrease in wait times for patients receiving services. Additionally, about 60 percent of providers surveyed have seen an increase in patient engagement and participation from patients while using telehealth services.

“As we continue to combat COVID-19 and begin navigating our new normal, many issues impact our mental and emotional well-being – whether it’s a need for a community and connection while in isolation, fear surrounding the illness itself, or anxiety from a loss of employment and financial strain,” said Brown-Woofter. “Telehealth offers an important outlet for our provider members and their patients to connect and maintain the critical conversation around behavioral health.”

Floridians are resilient and will get through this together. FBHA’s mental health and substance abuse treatment partners are available and fully operational. For more information about available resources, please visit https://www.floridabha.org/covid-19/.

April 20 

COVID-19 and Mental Health 

Without question, COVID-19 has made a significant impact on the mental health of millions of people throughout the world. Throughout this process, and even afterward, there will be a need to take care of our mental health.  The following actions can help relieve worry and anxiety and help bring a sense of control to what can seem out of control:

  • Practice good hygiene skills — wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds or more, practice not touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth), and covering coughs with elbow or tissue.
  • Practice social distancing — keeping at least six feet from people when out in public
  • Stock supplies such as food, medications, and hygiene products in case of a 14-day or longer quarantine.
  • Avoid air and sea travel
  • Modify work schedule and environment to be able to work from home, if possible
  • Practice a good sleep routine
  • Practice self-calming strategies (deep breathing, relaxation exercises, guided imagery, etc.)
  • Enjoy fresh air and sunshine
  • Exercise daily, even if just going for a walk
  • Stay in contact with friends and family through phone calls, text, emails, and video chatting
  • Practice hobbies that involve social distancing

For more information about this, read our blog post from April 1. Click HERE to read it. 

April 15

eCare from SMA Telehealth services removes barriers that may prevent you from receiving convenient, accessible, high quality care where you are. It ensures that you can receive the care you need, even when individuals are not near the SMA Care Team or if the care they seek is across the region. It allows clients to access care at their preferred location — in remote areas, at home, in a clinic or anywhere they may need it, through their mobile or digital device.

This technology has the potential to improve quality of outpatient care to our current clients and make it accessible to more. For more information, please email ecare@smahealthcare.org or call 800-539-4228.

April 10

Tips for Working from Home 

Communication Is Key

  • Stay in touch with your boss/co-workers 
  • Utilize digital to maintain successful communication

Tips for Video Chatting

  • When you’re not talking, have your audio on mute to eliminate your background noise and make it easier for everyone to hear those who are talking and presenting.
  • Look presentable. You’re still doing work during work hours, so pretend you’re still physically going by getting dressed every morning just as you would if you were going into the office.
  • Make sure you have a good and secure WiFi connection.

Stay on Track

  • Set a schedule
  • Stay organized
  • Maintain normal routine, as if you're working in the office 

April 9 

Food Safety and COVID-19 

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has numerous resources available for industry workers and consumers regarding food safety and COVID-19. For more information, visit their website HERE

April 8 

Social Distancing Reminders 

Social distancing measures are taken to restrict when and where people can gather to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events. Here are some ways to safely do that:

  • It is important to stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Avoid shopping at peak hours and take advantage of delivery or pick-up services with retailers.
  • Cooperate with leadership to change company practices, set up flexible shift plans, have employees telecommute, and cancel any large meetings or conferences.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a social greeting.
  • Avoid public transit, and don’t travel to places with active outbreaks.
  • Avoid crowded places

April 3 

Stress and coping

Older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 which may result in increased stress during a crisis.

Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Things you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call
    • 911
    • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

For more information, visit the CDC website.

April 1

SMA is now offering our youth programs virtually! While school is out, youth can stay connected, win prizes, and earn community service hours for participating in a program tailored to them.​

These fun and interactive sessions cover topics such as physical activity, healthy eating, ways to deal with stress and peer pressure, how drug use can interfere with living a healthy lifestyle, and more!

Join us for Teen Talk Tuesdays and Thursdays, every Tuesday (grades 6-8) and Thursday (grades 9-12) at 1:00 PM on LifeSize at https://call.lifesizecloud.com/1519674

Please contact mwetzel@smahealthcare.org for more information.

March 31 

March 30 

Important reminder: Please call before visiting any of our facilities. For general questions about SMA, please contact our Access Center at 800-539-4228. 

March 30 

Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often
  • Wash your handsoften with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touchingyour eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact

Take steps to protect others

Stay home if you’re sick
Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Cover your mouth and nosewith a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissuesin the trash.
  • Immediately wash your handswith soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask if you are sick
  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Clean and disinfect
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

For more information, visit the CDC website

March 25 

When we are faced with a crisis, anxiety is the immediate reaction and the antidote for anxiety is always control.  Since we can’t control what is going to happen with the COVID-19 pandemic, we turn to what we can control and this is why we see people shopping; they feel as though they are doing their part by stocking up.  These people are not selfish or bad people they are just scared and not thinking about their connection to others and their responsibility to their community, otherwise they would not react this way.  Unfortunately the impact of social media driven communication is what has escalated the hoarding behavior, and then human instinct takes over due to fear of being without something, and that something in this case is toilet paper. 

What people can do to ease their fear and anxiety is to ensure they are getting enough rest and eating a healthy diet, refrain from alcohol and mood altering substances, reduce or eliminate caffeinated drinks, take time for some type of exercise each day and when they feel intense fear and anxiety practice grounding themselves by tricking their brain to think about something else – what are three things you hear, three things you see that are pretty, close your eyes and feel the breeze or sun on your face and take slow deep breaths, and pray.  The key is to refocus your thoughts, focus on your senses and relax your mind.

When residents are feeling confined at home due to forced social distancing or self-quarantine, they should make a daily to do list.  Making a schedule and sticking to it will more closely resemble a work or school day giving them a sense of normalcy. Now is the perfect time to take care of all of the things that have been put off around the house – clean out that junk drawer, we all have them – go outside and do yard work, give the house a total spring cleaning, or for fun, start that hobby you’ve been interested in but never seem to get to.  Most importantly if someone becomes depressed or emotionally distressed call for help, there are people who care and will help you.  During these unsure times, SMA Healthcare remains open to continued services that our clients expect and need.  If someone needs help they can reach out to our access line 24/7 – 1-800-539-4228. 

March 17

SMA Healthcare remains committed to providing care to its clients. Knowing the risks and concerns of face-to-face meetings, and to keep in line with social distancing, SMA is extending its offering of eCare services – SMA’s telehealth services, which utilizes easy-to-use technology in order to provide personal care, no matter where you are. If you have questions, contact your SMA rep, call our Access Center (800-539-4228) or send an email to ecare@smahealthcare.org.

March 16

At SMA Healthcare, the Safety of our Clients and Employees is our uncompromising priority, and we are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are engaging daily with the Florida Department of Health and other government agencies to ensure that we implement the best policies to protect everyone as the situation evolves. Currently, SMA has not canceled or suspended any services or programs due to the current situation, however, visitation to select facilities has been restricted. If you are planning a visit to an SMA facility, please contact that facility for their current policy regarding visitations.

Of course, if needed, we will quickly announce any adjustments to our procedures or operations through our social media outlets so that you can maintain confidence that SMA is doing all we can to keep you and your family safe. Please check back often for updates.