Our New Normal

Color photo of tree in bloom over empty branches

It’s been 92 days since the first person tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. and 51 days since the first positive in NY. It seems like an eternity when we could freely walk about in the community with no restrictions on doing the things in life that brought us together like dinner at our favorite restaurant or a movie with friends on a Friday night. Those events have turned into zoom dinners with friends and Netflix nights on the couch.

While the challenges we are facing as we settle into a new “norm” has left many feeling lonely and even depressed, for the people we support the challenge is even greater. Challenges that the staff face daily as they navigate the mental health impact of this pandemic on society and directly on the people they support. The continued struggle to keep up with the need for PPE is at the forefront of every conversation as we work hard to keep people healthy and COVID-19 free.

Out of this adversity, however, innovation and re-imagined system designs are born: telecommuting, telemedicine and other technological advances have smacked us in the face and have catapulted us into the deep end of the pool we once gingerly dipped our toe into for fear we weren’t ready to jump in. A few weeks back the conversation was strictly about number of hospitalizations, intubations and people in ICU. While we still have 65 people we support showing COVID-19 like symptoms, 17 of whom have tested positive (2 sadly passed away) and 46 staff who’ve tested positive (thankfully 19 have already recovered and returned to work), we see the flattening of the curve in NY as well as at IAHD, and we are grateful.


IAHD is fortunate to have been able to secure 20 rapid tests, which we will administer at one of our high risk homes. The test will not only determine if one is positive, it will also let us know if people were ever positive and if they have developed the antibodies to the virus, which would make them immune to it. This will help us make more informed decisions; Decisions that will help to minimize exposure to some of our most vulnerable individuals and to staff.


As noted today by Governor Cuomo during his daily briefing, NY state’s budget will be determined by Federal Funding. To date, the CARES Act contains no funding to offset shortfalls we will have to face in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We, along with other providers and associations are making our voices heard in Albany. The National Governors’ Association is also asking for $500B in state aid to minimize cuts to much needed programs as well as hospitals and schools.

In the meantime, the amazing staff at IAHD keep showing up, on most days with a smile, and letting people know that through it all, we are here for them. In the end, that is what truly matters; that the people we support and care for know they are not in this alone.

Omayra Andino

IAHD in the News:

IAHD was recently featured on NY News channel 11 WPIX about how the organization has led the charge against the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected the Direct Support Professionals who continue in their commitment to the care of the people with I/DD who they support:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH the News 11 segment about IAHD’s fight against the CoronaVirus.

For Additional Helpful Information, Please visit these resources:

NY State Department of Health

Center for Disease Control