For 50 years now, KVC Health Systems has lived by core values including putting people first in every decision and asking ourselves, “What would we want for our own child or family?” These enduring values guide us as we face the difficult challenge of responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic last week.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world who are on the frontlines working to contain this coronavirus. We are vigilantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation around the clock and have precautions in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of our team members; the children, adults and families we serve; and supporters of our mission including foster and adoptive families.
We’re sharing this message to make sure you have access to the latest information:
- National: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its website daily with the latest information. You can view it at www.cdc.gov.
- State: In addition, our state partners are releasing helpful information on their websites: the Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment, the Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services, the Nebraska Dept. of Health & Human Services, the Kentucky Office of Inspector General, and the West Virginia Dept. of Health & Human Resources.
- Local: Finally, your local county health department may offer information as well.
Below is some information for our licensed caregivers such as foster and adoptive families and shared living providers on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as what to do if you or someone in your home is confirmed to have the virus.
Although precautions are necessary to prevent the entry and spread of COVID-19 into communities, care should be taken to avoid stigmatizing individuals who may have been exposed to the virus. We aim to continue to offer a welcoming, respectful, inclusive, and supportive environment for children and their families. We are taking precautions to help prevent spread of COVID-19 while minimizing disruption and protecting children, families, and staff.
How to Prevent the Spread of Illness
Please continue to take action to prevent the spread of illness of any kind at this time of year. We know these following routine healthy habits help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
- Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) created this hand-washing video to share with children.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing if possible, otherwise cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What to Do if You or Anyone In Your Home May Have COVID-19
If you think that you as a KVC client or caregiver, a child you are caring for, or anyone in your home has been exposed to COVID-19 and you/they develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately. Unless it is emergency, it is best to call ahead before visiting your doctor so the healthcare provider’s office can take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
Also, call us at KVC immediately so we can take steps to keep others from getting infected or exposed. Our locations and phone numbers are listed here.
KVC’s Child and Family Services Will Continue
Our child- and family-serving work such as in-home family support, family reunification services, foster care case management, foster family support, and adoption services are continuing with an appropriate level of caution. Our team members will prepare for these visits in advance by contacting the client or family and asking how they are doing. Inquiring about overall wellbeing including possible coronavirus exposure is our way of affirming that people matter and keeping everyone healthy and safe. The CDC has said that these type of interactions pose a low risk.
Our KVC Hospitals children’s psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment centers are continuing operations with preventative health measures in place.
We’ll Keep You Informed of Next Steps
In the event the spread of the Coronavirus would warrant other measures, we will keep you informed of what steps we are taking. Information will be shared via our website, email, and social media.
We hope the spread of illness does not affect your family, but we need to be prepared. Safety and health are of the utmost importance.
If you have specific questions about a family member’s symptoms or illness, please contact your healthcare provider.
Thank you for working with KVC. We appreciate you and will keep you updated over the coming weeks.