Last Friday the Developmental Services Taskforce met to provide an update for stakeholders throughout the state. The Department shared their concern that there is an alarming increase in the number of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state that are testing positive for COVID-19, an increase in hospital admissions, and an increase in deaths. The Department is tracking the number of new cases, and hospital admission so they can work with individuals, families, and providers to continue to identify trends and develop strategies to slow the spread of COVID, provide care for people who have tested positive, and plan accordingly for surge capacity. Complicating the issue is the increase number of direct support professionals and family members that are testing positive. Accurate data is essential to developing interventions, so the Department is requesting that if someone in the household – clients, family members, direct support person – tests positive they contact their service coordinator to let them know.
Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health, spoke to the DS Task Force about the COVID-19 Vaccine and the work that is being done at the state level to address issues of priority and distribution. The California Department of Health and Human Services Agency, CA Department of Public Health, had created a Community Vaccine Advisory Committee to address issues specific to equitable vaccine implementation and decision-making. The disability community is well represented on the Advisory Committee as the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Disability Rights CA, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, are among the members of the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will meet 6 more times between now and February 17, 2021. If you are interested in learning more about the work of the Advisory Committee visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Community-Vaccine-Advisory-Committee.aspx.
The first round of doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in CA early this week and be prioritized for frontline workers in hospitals and health care. The CDPH is projecting that there will be approximately 2 million doses in California by the end of December. The CDPH has published recommended guidelines based on a phased approach to vaccine distribution which can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CDPH-Allocation-Guidelines-for-COVID-19-Vaccine-During-Phase-1A-Recommendations.aspx.