March 15, 2020

Southern Tier Connect (STC) continues to monitor the extent and impact of the Coronavirus, COVID-19. To ensure the safety of the individuals and families we support, our workforce, provider network and communities, Southern Tier Connect will be taking the following precautions effective Monday 3/16/2020 for 2 weeks:

  • We will be suspending all in person visits to facilities, organizations and homes in order to minimize the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. These meetings will still occur but will be conducted through video conference methods (Zoom) and/or by telephone when technology is not available.
  • Southern Tier Connect offices will be closed to our workforce and visitors. All business which can be conducted remotely will continue.
  • We are using the Social distancing approach which has been recommended by WHO (World Health Organization, CDC (Centers for Disease Control), DOH (New York State Department of Health) and now OPWDD (Office of Person’s with Disabilities). The above precautions will be in place for a 2-week time period at which point a review of the current situation will be evaluated and further decisions and communications will be made.

What should we expect from your Care Manager during the next 2 weeks?

  • Your Care Manager will be reaching out to each of you by phone to go over a series of questions and make sure you or your loved one has what they need.
  • Your Care Manager will be reaching out to you more often during this time and will need your feedback to make sure we can find the appropriate resources and information for your specific situation.
  • Remember that we are here to help you during this uncertain time so please keep in touch with us.

Information for you – Education regarding what COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is

  • COVID-19 is a new disease. We are still learning how it spreads and the severity of illness it causes.
  • This virus is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person when people are in close contact (within about 6 feet) with one another.
  • It is also possibly spread through respiratory droplets which occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
  • It is possible that a person can get the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
  • People who are sick are thought to be most contagious when they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID -19 virus. The best way to prevent contracting COVID19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Prevention Strategies

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often 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 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 touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put space between yourself and other people if the COVID-19 is spreading in your community.

Stay home if you’re sick, except to get medical care

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.


  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • People who are not sick do not need a facemask.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water before disinfection.

Advice if someone is sick

  1. Call your doctor – If you think you have been exposed to the Coronavirus and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately. Before going to the doctor’s office, tell your doctor that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  2. Stay home except to get medical care.
  3. Wear a facemask if you are sick. Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  4. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
  5. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.
  6. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.