Today marks the third month of the declared COVID-19 crisis here in Pennsylvania. It has been a long three months for all of us. Much has happened in those 90 days. Here at Lakeshore we have completely changed almost every aspect of how we operate as an organization.
However, that change didn’t come easily and could not have happened without the hard work performed and dedication of every one of Lakeshore’s employees. Those we serve and their families are very appreciative of the efforts taken to keep their loved ones safe and supported, for both our Intellectual Disabilities services and our Mental Health programs and services.
Staff efforts have been extraordinary, and, in many cases, staff have made extreme sacrifices both personally and professionally l during this crisis. I am so grateful for our staff’s flexibility, cooperation and support as we mitigated this pandemic. However, this crisis is far from over and we have a long way to go. The risks of infection are evident with each days’ COVID-19 case report. As we reopen and relax restrictions each of us must stay the course. Over 15% of the population we serve here at Lakeshore is at extremely high risk of Covid-19. This is way we must remain vigilant.
Lakeshore recognizes that the impacts of this crisis with altered schedules and work environments is difficult to maintain. However, our efforts have proven to be effective. The individuals we serve are still well. Isolation from large groups and the community at large is responsible for this. I hope you are each proud and thankful for your coworkers that this virus has been held at bay thus far. But there are no guarantees this will be the case tomorrow, next week or in the fall. To achieve this, we all must stay the course.
The next few months are going to be difficult as the world opens and we maintain our strict standards. We have asked our staff to be extremely cautious in their personal lives and stay the course as well; practice the mitigation strategies and avoid close interaction with anyone who doesn’t live within your own home and ask those who do live with you to do the same. We see the best solution is to keep Covid-19 out. Please be safe and be well. Thank you for your continued support of Lakeshore.
The last two months have been nothing but surreal. So far, Lakeshore has successfully negotiated the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. We've been blessed in the health of our consumers and staff to date. This has been the result of a huge concerted effort by all our program and administrative staff as well as many people and organizations in the community. I cannot thank the organizations and the community enough who rallied to help LCS prepare for and deal with the implications of COVID-19. From the individuals and groups who sewed and donated masks, to the volunteers and staff who worked on finding and fulfilling PPE needs, to the vendors who facilitated logistical support efforts, and the great distilleries who provided hand sanitizers. The list is almost endless, and my appreciation is heartfelt and sincere. All of you have brought us to where we are today. Not only did these efforts protect our agency, it has ensured we are very prepared if COVID-19 were to ever arrive at our doors. We have the required resources, training, plans and support systems in place to confront it and do so in a safe, effective and approved manner. Thank you!!
As our region navigates the Yellow Phase to reopening, we want you to know Lakeshore will remain diligent in our protocols to protect our consumers and our staff. LCS serves a population that is up to fifteen times more likely to succumb to COVID-19. It is because of this high mortality rate that LCS will be moving very cautiously to ease restrictions within our programs and in our operations. With that in mind, Lakeshore will slowly ease restrictions as the situation warrants. When the risk to our consumers reaches a point that is significantly lower than it is currently, our mitigation efforts will begin to ease further. At that point we'll begin looking to reinitiate community-based services and participating in typical small community group activities.
At Lakeshore Community Services our primary focus has been and will remain, the safety and wellbeing of our staff and consumers. Again, my deepest gratitude to everyone who has helped us navigate this crisis and maintain the high level of quality care for which Lakeshore is known.
The health, safety and well-being of the consumers we serve is at the very core of our mission at Lakeshore Community Services. We provide services for over 750 adults with intellectual disabilities and persistent mental illness. The COVID crisis had an immediate impact on our agency. We had to react quickly, putting in place the emergency policies and procedures to ensure that everyone at Lakeshore was safe. From PPE to food and supplies as well as additional support for staff, our agency has been working around the clock to ensure that the individuals we serve are receiving consistent, quality care. Thanks to a grant award from the Erie Community Foundation we were able to offset the cost of unforeseen supplies like masks, gowns, face shields and sanitation supplies. These funds helped to cover the costs associated with bulk procurement of food and other supplies for our community homes. The funds are also helping with very important supplies like arts and crafts and educational tools so that staff can provide activities to keep consumers occupied and calm. These are unprecedented times and the financial challenge we faced as an agency was eased by the very generous support of the Erie Community Foundation.
A crisis like COVID-19 can bring out the best in people or the worst. This past week here at Lakeshore we have seen some of the very best of our staff and the community! So many businesses, suppliers and other community organizations have helped LCS in a host of ways from helping us secure much needed supplies to staffing resources. We are grateful to each and every one of you. A special note of thanks to those making masks for our use and to Luminary Distillery. I would also like to shine the light on LCS staff who have been spreading positive thoughts by recognizing their co-workers with words of encouragement on the LCS internal website.
Has someone gone above and beyond at Lakeshore and you would like to recognize them? Be sure to “shout” it out on LEW. All these efforts are keeping spirits high and ensuring that the care we deliver is consistent and the highest quality.
Stay well everyone and remember - stay home except for health care, essential work and to check on family or obtain groceries.
As COVID-19 continues to cause great suffering around the world, across the nation and here in PA, at Lakeshore we are committed to keeping our consumer's activities in the home as normal as possible. We are committed to ensuring that our consumers days are healthy, active and fun. A very special thank you to all of our Lakeshore employees from the front desk to our managers, DSP’s, HR, accounting, maintenance, administrative and IT staff for keeping things going so smoothly during this crisis. I am humbled by the hard-work, creativity and positive outlook from all of our staff here at Lakeshore during this difficult time.
A Sincere Thank You from Alan Benson, CEO
While many can work from home during this crisis – we want to remember and thank our DSP’s & managers at Lakeshore who are on the frontlines delivering consistent quality care to our consumers.
Lakeshore Community Services
Like for many of you, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is at the forefront of Lakeshore’s mind. We are taking significant steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of those we serve, our employees, and the community at large. This is always our first priority. As a result, Lakeshore has imposed some restrictions on access to our offices and facilities. This includes suspending in person meetings, trainings and visitations. Operations are currently being altered to ensure that sufficient resources are in place to provide adequate services to our consumers and support to staff and families. Lakeshore appreciates everyone’s understanding, flexibility and support as we work to navigate this national health emergency.