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Safe COVID-19 practices are the “new normal”

The pandemic is here to stay for a while. Make sure you are protecting yourself and your client.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tragic and scary. Hundreds of thousands of people have died worldwide and in our communities. Every sneeze in public reminds us how easy it would be to catch this deadly virus. This has been a time of grief and fear.

But it’s also been, well…boring. And lonely. And stressful. Many of us have been stuck at home while daily life slowed to a standstill: No movies, no restaurants, no church, no public pools, no family vacations. After four months of near lockdown in most California counties, it’s no wonder we are excited as businesses and other parts of society start to open up. Most of us are so done with the coronavirus.

But the coronavirus isn’t done with us by far. In fact, the pandemic is getting worse.

The pandemic was supposed to be slowing down by now, but it is speeding up. Our nation leads the world in COVID-19 cases, with 3 million—one million in the last month alone. In California alone, we are approaching 300,000 cases with nearly 7,000 deaths. We can blame bad leadership, but we must also blame ourselves for not taking precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

Yes, the coronavirus threat is still very serious. And it’s people like us that are in the most danger.  The latest data shows Black and Latinx Americans have been three times as likely to become infected as white people. And Black and Latinx people have been nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people. A new surge among Latinx folks, particularly, is reason for alarm.

IHSS providers, like many frontline workers, are mostly women and people of color. We are tracking multiple outbreaks, especially among our Latinx members in Imperial and Orange Counties. Many families are reporting multiple hospitalizations in single households from COVID-19.

Your union is doing everything possible to protect you. We have wrangled protective supplies everywhere we can find them. We are now doing advocacy, membership meetings and trainings online. We’ve created an emergency response team to help our members who have tested positive for COVID. We’ve changed everything we do so we can keep helping each other during these hard times.

We can do all these things as a union, but stopping the virus comes down to personal responsibility. The actions we take every day decide whether this pandemic nightmare stops, slows down, or keeps going.

Don’t let “pandemic fatigue” make your drop your guard. The coronavirus is still spreading in our communities and is still a deadly threat. Take control of your life and your future during this pandemic by maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols.

  • Keep the virus away from yourself – Wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands and regularly clean and sanitize hard surfaces.
  • Keep the virus away from your client – Limit visitors and make sure their home environment is regularly cleaned and sanitized.
  • Keep your client home as much as possible – Avoid unnecessary trips into the community that increase the possibilities for your client to become infected.
  • Limit your client’s visits with family and friends – It’s so hard to do, especially for months on end, but social distancing saves lives—including yours and your client’s.
  • Stay connected and help your client stay connected—Take the time to connect with friends and family through phone calls and video calls—and help keep your client connected, too!
  • Ask for help when you need it—If you are having a hard time, you are not alone. Reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional if you are overwhelmed. If you need help finding resources in your area, call 1-800-621-5016 to be connected with your local UDW office.

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, your union is here for you. Please call us at 1-800-621-5016 so we can help you apply for Sick Days, Disability and Family Medical Leave for your family.