The health of the New Star community is our top priority
This website is intended to provide the New Star family – consumers, their families, staff, donors and volunteers – with the latest information concerning the COVID-19 outbreak and measures implemented to reduce its spread.
New Star is monitoring the situation and will make every effort to provide information and implement policies intended to ensure the continued health and safety of our community.
NEW STAR EXEMPT FROM ILLINOIS EXECUTIVE ORDER
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an Executive Order that requires residents to “stay at home.” The order went into effect Saturday, March 21.
This order will NOT AFFECT our commitment to the residents of our homes and consumers needing extra support in the community. Our staffing levels will remain the same, and increase in some situations, in our homes. New Star provides an essential service to the consumers who rely on us for 24-hour care. The Governor’s Executive Order specifically identifies services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as essential and exempt from the Order.
Most importantly, our residential program is more than the 23 buildings we serve; each is a home to the 130 individuals we serve in the Community Living program.
NEW PROCEDURES IMPLEMENTED FOR RESIDENTIAL CONSUMERS AND STAFF
As an additional precaution in our efforts to monitor the spread of the COVID-19 virus, New Star has implemented a new policy that requires temperature checks of each residential consumer at least once a day. The consumers are also continually being evaluated to see if they exhibit any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, all staff members at all the houses, and the four New Star office sites will have a temperature check before entering a building.
We will be implementing the same policy in Indiana for our two supported living homes. For all other programs, before entering a consumer’s house, a staff member checks their temperature. We have asked families to report any temperatures or symptoms within their home. If any signs or a temperature manifests, we will cancel staff support. We will then maintain communication with the family and initiate services once they no longer have symptoms for 24 hours. All quarterly meetings with consumers, families, and case managers will be administered via teleconference. Recreational therapy sessions via skype will begin soon.
HOW DOES COVID-19 AFFECT THE CONSUMERS WHO LIVE IN ONE OF NEW STAR’S COMMUNITY LIVING HOMES?
To protect our consumers, New Star will implement a temporary visitation policy that strictly limits the exposure of both consumers and staff to the coronavirus. Visitors will only be allowed in a New Star residential home under certain circumstances and will not be permitted to engage with any consumers or staff.
In order to minimize the risk to all our community living residents, we are discouraging consumers from making visits outside the New Star residence. Family/guardians have been made aware that a consumer who leaves the New Star residence, may not return for 14-days in order to limit the possible exposure to other consumers and staff. The Illinois Department of Human Services endorsed this recommendation.
We know how important it is to keep in contact with your loved one during this unique period. However, it is important to maintain the strict visitation policy to keep all our consumers safe.
In lieu of visits to our residential homes, New Star staff is offering alternative means of communication for family members and guardians. The virtual communication methods could include phone calls and video-communications such as Skype, Facetime, etc. Families are encouraged to reach out to their service coordinator if this is an area they would like to pursue or if they have any questions or concerns. We also have daily virtual events that our consumers can participate in. For more information on these events please see the Daily Virtual Lineup.
TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF CHICAGO HEIGHTS AND CRETE DAY PROGRAMS:
In light of ever-changing circumstances around COVID-19, and to be responsive to community and public health needs, we have made the difficult decision to close Day Programming at both the Chicago Heights and Crete campuses.
At the advice of the Illinois Department of Human Services New Star closed our Illinois based day services on Tuesday, March 17. New Star will reopen once the leadership team is confident any risk to our consumers, their families, and staff has declined.
Our dedicated janitorial crew will continue cleaning and disinfecting the two buildings in preparation for the consumers’ safe return.
Again, I want to stress that the welfare of the New Star family – consumers, their family members, and staff – is our utmost concern. We are doing everything we can to keep that family safe during these unprecedented times.
HOW WILL YOU RECEIVE INFORMATION FROM NEW STAR:
If you are a member of the New Star family, your service coordinator will be in close contact with you. We will update the New Star website frequently with any future developments. We will also be sending out emails and posting on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Situations surrounding the COVID–19 outbreak change at a moment’s notice. We are committed to staying up-to-date, responding to recommendations from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Health, the Indiana State Department of Health, and keeping you informed.
Below are links to government and health agencies that can provide you with updated information on the coronavirus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
World Health Organization
National Institue of Health
Social Security Administration