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Coronavirus and our ALS community

The ALS Association Alabama Chapter is committed to the health and safety of the ALS community and all of our stakeholders. Below are some of the details about our proactive response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as some best practices to take preemptive action to help prevent the spread of respiratory and viral diseases.

What We Are Doing

• Staying Informed - Given the evolving news about the coronavirus, we are closely monitoring the situation as well as the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and local departments of public health. We are making rapid and real-time decisions to ensure that we are preserving the well-being of all the Chapter stakeholders, including persons with ALS, caregivers, and our employees. We will continue to do so throughout this public health emergency.

• Modifying Program Strategies - We are leveraging our capacity to provide remote support and utilize technology for meaningful care services interventions. Given that, we have canceled in-person support groups and suspended home visits. We will instead be reaching out and connecting with persons with ALS and caregivers remotely. We will continue to staff ALS clinics by deploying care service coordinators to be on-site in person and by complying with ALS clinic coronavirus protocols. We are also re-evaluating our events strategies to ensure that we are protecting the health and well-being of attendees. Additional details are provided below.

• Increasing Hygiene - We are more frequently cleaning surfaces with disinfecting, alcohol-based cleaners. We are also providing hand sanitizers to staff members. We are ensuring the avilability of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer at community-based events.

• Educating Our Team - We are communicating frequently with our staff members to ensure that they are aware of the latest developments and prevention techniques. We are making certain that our team knows how to keep themselves and others at the lowest risk possible.

What You Can Do

• Keep Yourself and Others Healthy - Following the basic prevention guidelines from the (CDC), including the following:

○ Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibily dirty.

○ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

○ Fever, cough and shortness of breath are the main symptoms of coronavirus. Call your doctor if you suddenly develop any of those symptoms.

○ Stay home when you are sick.

○ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

○ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

• Be Kind -  We are all in this together. During stressful times people may direct their fear or anxiety towards others. By learning the facts of COVID, we can help counter any potential stigma tied to the virus. Viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups. We stand together as one community promoting the safety and well-being of all.

 

More information about coronavirus is detailed on the website for the CDC. There are also printable copies of helpful resources available in English and Spanish. You can also find helpful information in this Q & A from the World Health Organization (WHO)

Please contact your health care provider with any specific questions or concerns.

Additional Resources:

Alabama Department of Health Updates:

 http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

If you are a Medicaid provider: Click the following link to view instructions
https://medicaid.alabama.gov/documents/9.0_Resources/9.10_Texting_Service/9.10_Providers_Alabama_Medicaid's_Texting_Service_instructions.pdf
 

Please encourage Medicaid recipients to sign up also: Click the following link to view instructions
https://medicaid.alabama.gov/documents/9.0_Resources/9.10_Texting_Service/9.10_Recipients_Alabama_Medicaid's_Texting_Service_instructions.pdf

COVID-19 Travel Guidance from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Get your Household Ready for COVID-19 from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/get-your-household-ready-for-COVID-19.html

Monitor your health: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions

Care Services and Support Group Updates

•The safety of persons with ALS, caregivers, and our staff members remains our top priority. We are acutely aware that people with ALS are at an increased risk for respiratory problems associated with viral infections. Out of an abundance of caution, we have canceled all ALS Alabama Chapter in-person support group meetings for the month of March and April. 

• We understand how important it is to have a shared community of families facing ALS who are on the same journey, and we encourage you to reach out to those in your group. If you need assistance in contacting someone, please connect with your Care Service Coordinator to help facilitate this connection, or contact us at Melissa@alsalabama.org

• Note that we are also putting a temporary pause on our home-visitation program. We will be leveraging technology to provide similar services remotely and are committed to ensuring continuity of care. We will resume home visits as soon as we are confident that it is safe to do so.

 ALS Association Care Services Staff:

Director of Care Services:  Melissa Enfinger - 334-312-3328  melissa@alsalabama.org

North AL Care Service Coordinator: Katie Gullion - 256-502-2155 katie@alsalabama.org

Central AL Care Service Coordinator: Alysia Rafalsky - 205-223-0238 alysia@alsalabama.org

South AL Care Service Coordinator: Bonnie White - 251-402-3848 bonnie@alsalabama.org

 Alabama ALS Clinics Contacts:

Crestwood Clinic Director: Sherry K - 256-429-4113 Sherry.Kolodziejczak@crestwoodmedcenter.com

Alabama Neurology Associates Clinic Coordinator: Kathleen Smith - 205-803-2210 ksmith@alaneuro.com

UAB ALS Clinic Coordinators: Mia Davis or Sabrina Miller - 205-934-2120 mmccay@uabmc.edu

VA ALS Clinic Coordinator: Dr. Kimberlee Redwine - 205-933-8101 ext.4638 Kimberlee.Redwine@va.gov 

 Community Outreach Event Updates

• The ALS Association Alabama Chapter promotes everyday preventive health actions to all our participants and staff, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) guidelines.

At this time, our Chapter's Empowered Educational Workshops and other community outreach events in March and April have been postponed.  We are continuing to evaluate our planned Chapter's Community Outreach events scheduled in May and beyond, in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) guidelines, to determine if any changes to these plans are required. We will provide updates via our website, social media channels, and directly to participants via email. 

• We discourage anyone who is sick from attending any of our events. We also discourage vulnerable populations, including persons with ALS, from attending community events in-person if their doctor recommends avoiding crowds. 

• We will have additional preventions supplies at our events for participants, to include hand washing stations and hand sanitizer. Staff and volunteers will wear gloves for all food handling. 

• We are expanding virtual participation opportunities so we can continue to join the fight to defeat ALS without having to be physically present. We are committed to continue the momentum forward in advancing the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS.

ALS Advocacy

 ALS Alabama Advocacy Goes Virtual

We are taking precautions in light of COVID-19 and want to ensure that all of our stakeholders- especially persons living with ALS and their families – are not exposed to unnecessary risk.  Therefore, we will be providing a “virtual experience” to empower self-advocates to have their messages heard by policymakers at both the state and national levels.

Stay tuned to email, social media, and our Chapter website for details as the events evolve to fit our current circumstances. 

Mission Forward! 

  

If you have questions or concerns for the Alabama Chapter, please reach out to us at info@alsalabama.org.  Thank you for your support!