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Impact of Coronavirus on Affiliate Business and Activities

I am writing to inform you of directions we are receiving from the Governor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, NAMI national and our own action plan to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Please read this email carefully and completely.

Check the Ohio coronavirus website regularly as it is updated in real time: www.coronavirus.ohio.gov  and the call center phone number is 833-427-5634. The phone number is monitored 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Keep up with local news and health department announcements, the Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.

First , be aware that none of us wish to be in this position and are not able to guess the future.  However, the Centers for Disease Control, the Ohio Department of Health and our Governor is stressing that steps MUST be taken to limit exposure.  Many of those we work with do have compromised immune systems and some may not be aware of how easily the virus can be transmitted.  Please reinforce the hygiene practices that are outlined by your local authorities and are on the CDC website.  This is not a situation to brush off or think is blown out of proportion, yet simple steps can keep people safer.

In general, recognize how easily this virus can spread.  For example, one person in a public place can expose someone and you, in turn, expose everyone you come in contact with!  This is how the number of infected grows so rapidly. (Think doctor office full of sick people, each sick person leaves and exposes more and more people.)

  • Wash your hands
  • Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Keep distance between yourself and all others (3 feet mimimum)
  • Avoid touching hands, eyes and mouth with unwashed or un-sanitized hands
  • Do not shake hands
  • Cover your own mouth when sneezing
  • Do not panic but be smart.

Impact on NAMI activities

  • The NAMI Ohio and Suicide Prevention Conference, May 15 – 16, 2020, IS CANCELLED.
  • NAMI Ohio will wait and see what happens in the coming months to determine what, if any, replacement activities are scheduled.
  • NAMI Ohio will NOT be scheduling any program trainings until further notice.  We recognize the need for teachers and leaders but we are following recommendations to avoid group gatherings, eating at restaurants, and trapping people in a room for hours in close confines.  We cannot risk exposing people when we have the ability to limit exposure opportunities.  This includes Family-to-Family, Family Support Group, Connection, Peer-to-Peer or any other NAMI program such as IOOV or Ending the Silence in-person training.
  • We recommend that you cancel support groups and classes.  It seems every day, an additional person is exposed and it is hitting closer and closer to each of us.  If at all possible, consider holding virtual support groups, webinars, etc.  Yes, we need to be able and willing to help those who seek our help, but we cannot think “it won’t happen here.”  Be proactive, be creative and most, of all, err on the side of over-caution.
  • NAMI Ohio Board of Directors meeting, and the Governor’s reception for NAMI Ohio board members is cancelled.

In the words of Governor DeWine, bringing people together in groups presents unacceptable risks and we must take things day by day as this situation unfolds.

BEWARE THAT YOU MUST REFERENCE THE LATEST INFORMATION AS THE SITUATION CAN, AND IS, CHANGING RAPIDLY.  We will get information out as quickly as possible.

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