1st Choice Weekly News Article: March 18th, 2020

The Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19)

Dr. Robin Holliman-Smith, Author




Over the last six weeks, 1st Choice Family Services have been following the safety guidelines endorsed by Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As well, our dedicated staff of professionals work under the auspices of Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) to provide uncompromising quality service to Ohioans in multiple counties throughout the state and Trinidadians in the Caribbean islands.





COVID-19, also referred to as 2019-nCoV (Coronavirus) was first detected in Wuhan, China, and it began to spread in December 2019. It is a virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness. More specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2019) have suggested that this virus is largely spread through respiratory droplets, which mean persons can possibly contract the virus if they come within six feet of an individual who is contagious to encounter these droplets.

Researchers’ have revealed specific places where coronavirus lingers (ODH, 2020). Thus, it is likely that a person can get COVID-19 by touching contaminated objects and/or surfaces with the virus is resting and contact it when touching their eyes, noses, or mouth. Researchers stated, “the virus could be detected up to three hours later in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel” (Marchione, 2020).





1st Choice Family Services are conducting Weekly Field Leadership and Office Meetings. The meeting objective is to discuss how to eliminate risk of contracting COVID-19. The meetings include Office Administration, Service Managers, Field Trainers, Quality Assurance Managers, and the Leadership Team. The agenda is structured and addresses issues relative to the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus outbreak. Zoom has been the preferred communications software. This is because it combines chat, online meetings, video conferencing, and mobile collaboration. More significantly, Zoom allows staff to communicate remotely without the risk of spreading germs in the office.

Meeting topics have centered on Preventative Measures coupled with the Socio-Ecological Model because “the model provides a framework for understanding those different influences and their relationship to one another” (Barnett, Mainor, & Reece, 2014).





Preventative measures to avert the spread of coronavirus were adopted from ODH (2020) and are listed below:

  • Clean hands with soap and water throughout the day
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home when you are sick and/or contact a doctor or health practitioner
  • Evade close contact with individuals who are coughing, blowing their noses, or sneezing, and
    Guard your cough or sneeze with a clean tissue, then toss throw tissue in the trash container.

Additional information and direction on COVID-19 is available at ODH’s new website: coronavirus.ohio.gov.



Socio-Ecological Model (SEM): Practical Considerations


SEM is a theoretical framework for understanding the shared and interactive effects of personal and environmental factors. To expound, SEM takes into consideration the person, and their affiliations to people, the community, and organizations. SEM is comprised of five distinct aspects (e.g., Policy, Community, Organizational, Interpersonal, Interactions, and Individual). SEM illustrates how factors at one level impact factors at another level (Barnett, Mainor, & Reece, 2014). This analyzable interplay stimulates an individual’s problem-solving abilities in providing clients with direct care as shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The Socio-Ecological Model. Source: Barnett, K., Mainor, A., & Reece, J. (2014, February). Health disparities matter. Kirwan Institute. Retrieved here.





Due to the uncertainty about the ambiguous transmission in the spread of the virus between person-to-person, 1st Choice Family Services staff are committed to providing continuous quality care to our clients amid COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, the Leadership Team has suspended all community outings scheduled for clients until further notice. This precaution is aimed at reducing the person-to-person interactions in sizable spaces.

In addition, staff have improved cleaning routines in clients’ homes and each home is stocked with hand and surface-disinfecting sprays, care packages, and paper supplies. Accordingly, the Leadership Team has instructed all staff to practice the same safety precautions in their homes that they practice in clients’ homes.



COVID-19 Update


By and large, respiratory viruses are most contagious when a person is most symptomatic. To explain, symptomatic means a person already has the characteristics of a disease. Even so, there have been reports of coronavirus spreading when an affected person did not show any symptoms. Refer to the March 17, 2020 update on the COVID-19 Outbreak for cases in Ohio, US, and globally is shown below in Figure 2.


Figure 2. COVID-19 Outbreak. Source: Bing.com. Retrieved here.





1st Choice Family Services will continue to monitor and update staff on the latest news on the COVID-19 Outbreak.
1st Choice Family Services would like to extend their deep gratitude to everyone who is working to ensure our clients, staff, families, and neighborhoods stay healthy and safe for the duration of this pandemic.
1st Choice Family Services is extremely appreciative to other Direct Care Agencies for their dedication to providing quality and timely services that are client and family centered, culturally responsive, and sensitive to the needs, feelings, and opinions of the clients we all enjoy serving.