COA Closes Meal Sites Until Further Notice

March 23, 2020

By John Raffel

REED CITY — Osceola County Commission Aging director Justin Halladay is keeping busy, and for many good reasons.

“With the corona virus situation there have been many adjustments to the COA and our operations during this time,” he said. Also on another note the county has closed on the purchase of the new meal site in Reed City at the old Harvest Assembly Church located at 602 Upton. We hope to start working on getting the property ready for us to use soon. We will be sharing the site with EMS and will work with them to get the building set up.”

This letter was sent to all clients on Thursday last week reference Covid-19. “Since then the meal sites have been closed for now,” Halladay said.

The letter was in reference to keeping clients and staff safe around respiratory illnesses, including Covid-19 or the Coronavirus. Halladay’s letter read, in part:

“The coronavirus has been in the news quite a bit recently. We want you to know that your health, and that of our staff and volunteers, is of the utmost importance to us and we have been taking this threat very seriously.

“Here at the Commission On Aging we have developed plans and trained our staff and volunteers to protect all of us while still maintaining those core services so crucial to the health and welfare of our seniors.

“For the time being, no services are affected. However, because the population we serve, seniors, is more vulnerable to the virus than others, we know we need to take extra care. Many, if not most, of our staff and volunteers are seniors themselves.

“You’ll notice that staff may ask you questions about recent colds or flu, or travel, of yourself or others in your household. If there has been illness, we may need to maintain a distance to be on the safe side. It’s especially important we don’t pick up germs and then pass them along to other seniors whose health we help to maintain.

“Here are some additional changes which are possible in future:
•Home Delivered Meals: “Home Delivery Meals will NOT be closed and will continue. In the future, we may need to limit the days we can deliver meals, but we will look to deliver frozen or shelf stable meals for those days we do not deliver. We will also look to call clients to check-in even on those weekdays we don’t deliver.”
•In Home Services: “In the future we may not be able to deliver services if there has been illness in your home or if we have insufficient staff. Staff may call you in advance of traveling to your home to inquire about your health and support available. If we are unable to provide services, we will look to call to check in on those days we do not visit.”
•Transportation – “In coming weeks, transportation may be limited to those who need care for medical services such as dialysis or chemotherapy. To protect those seniors who also have underlying medical conditions, we may need to help you find alternate transportation if you are sick.”

Caseworkers – “Your caseworker may call for a phone assessment instead of an in-person assessment.”

Meal Sites – “we may need to take a week or two off if health agencies advise it. If you would need a meal (or additional meals) delivered to your home due to the closing of a meal site, please call our office.

“All Congregate Meal Sites (Evart, Marion, Reed City, and Tustin) will close starting Tuesday, March 17, for at least three weeks until April 6. The closer may be longer depending upon the status of state-mandated closures.

“For seniors that attend meal sites and need a meal during this time, we will be providing meals as a drive-thru at each meal site. Seniors can contact the COA at 231-734-5559 to sign up for the drive-thru meals. Seniors may only sign up for a week’s need at a time. The COA may contact seniors throughout the week to check on your status.

“Wellness Classes – classes may need to be cancelled temporarily, if health agencies advise it. If this occurs, we will be sure to get the word out once we are able to restart classes. We are closely monitoring the information being shared by the CDC, the Central Michigan Health Department and other healthcare authorities and our prevention and response plan will continue to incorporate this expert advice.

“It is our hope that health care professionals will find a way to end this epidemic. In the meantime we will continue to provide support and resources to Osceola County Seniors in a safe and caring manner.”

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