1st Choice Weekly News Article: March 25th, 2020

Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) cont.

Dr. Robin Holliman-Smith, Author





1st Choice Family Services will continue to pursue the latest reports on Coronavirus (COVID-19) to obtain data on how the virus could potentially impact valued clients, staff, and communities. Our agency would like to personally re-assure concerned entities that the health and well-being of all individuals remains our highest priority. In keeping to the safety guidelines by Ohio Department of Health (ODH, 2020) and regulations by Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD, 2020), it is of utmost importance to 1st Choice Family Services to be adamant in its attempts to suffocate the spread of COVID-19.



Staff and Locations


1st Choice Family Services employs dedicated individuals with expertise in the following categories:

  • Office Administration
  • Service Managers
  • Field Trainers
  • Quality Assurance Managers
  • Leadership Team

1st Choice Family Services is committed to the safety of Ohioans with MRDD in multiple counties throughout the state and Trinidadians in the Caribbean islands.

Statistics on COVID-19 cases in Ohio are forthcoming in this article. For Trinidad and Tobago, as of March 19, there were 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Stabroek News, 2020).





1st Choice Family Services’ objective is to conduct multiple weekly meetings to provide open communicate to all-staff. The meetings serve a dual-purpose which is to improve client services by supporting the development of competencies to enhance employees and organizational performance. All-staff meetings are managed via Zoom software and utilized for chats, video conferencing, and project collaboration.



Strategic Agenda


1st Choice Family Services operates from well-defined strategic agenda. Our agenda helps to mobilize staff to ensure their attention is on key objectives. It also assists in prioritizing short-term initiatives which supports long-term objectives. The strategic agenda gives all staff comprehensible direction and reduces the uncertainty that comes with procedural changes.

1st Choice Family Services strategic agenda includes value-based ground rules. The purpose of the ground rules is to provide procedures to help the meeting facilitator steer staff to desired outcome(s). The list below outlines our eight ground rules:

  • Respect all teammates and agree to disagree
  • Keep unnecessary jargon to a minimum
  • When confused, admit the need for clarification
  • Seek out unconventional ideas/ways to solve issues
  • Discuss alternate methods for completing assignments
  • Pull together instead of pulling away to resolve challenges
  • Make decisions based on options and apply good judgment, and
  • Share relevant information with all staff (e.g., Webmail, Deputy, etc.)

1st Choice Family Services weekly meetings provide staff with opportunities to share experiences, define and discuss challenges, problem solve, improve performance, build cohesive teams, and move projects forward. Staff meetings will continue to discuss COVID-19 relevant to safeguarding clients, employees, and communities from the ongoing transmission.

Last week’s article incorporated the Socio-Ecological Model (SEM) developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner in the 1970s (Kilanowski, 2017). To reiterate, SEM was utilized as a learning tool to better understand 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 employees’ problem-solving abilities.




The Health Belief Model


This week’s article incorporates the Health belief Model (HBM) developed by four social psychologists, namely Irwin M. Rosenstock, Godfrey M. Hochbaum, Stephen Kegeles, and Howard Leventhal (Glanz & Bishop, 2010). The HBM was introduced in the 1950s and modernized in the 1980s. The model is viewed as a learning tool to explain the failure of persons that participate in programs to prevent and detect disease.

The HBM demonstrates that a person’s desire to change a health behavior it is not enough for them to change their behavior. As explained by Boskey (2019), the model is based on the theory that a person’s will to alter their health behaviors is mostly due to four factors, which are:

1) perceived susceptibility, 2) perceived severity, 3) perceived benefits, and 4) perceived barriers (as shown below in Figure 1 and defined below in Figure 2)

Figure 1. Source: Becker (1988). Health Belief Mode. Retrieved here.

Figure 2. Source: Boskey, E. (2019, January 14). Verywell Mind. Retrieved here.




Situation in U.S.


Different parts of the country are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity (as shown below in Figure 3). Simply put, in some states the virus is in the initiation phase, and in other states the virus is in the acceleration phase (CDC, 2020). To that point, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, and Ohio have decided to follow California and New York’s lead to order persons to remain indoors (The New York Times2020).

Figure 3. Source: Johns Hopkins University. Last updated 23 Mar 12:48pm EST. Retrieved here.



Coronavirus Deaths in U.S.


U.S. reports of confirmed coronavirus cases were 41,126 as of Monday, March 23, 2020 (Breakdown shown in Figure 4). Corresponding to the U.S., there were 187 recoveries, and 487 deaths. Dreadfully within days, the actual number of confirmed cases will be suggestively higher.



Coronavirus Deaths in Ohio


As of Saturday, March 21st, Ohio confirmed three (3) deaths caused by COVID-19 (Rosenberg, 2020). Mark Wagoner Sr., age 76, was the state’s first death. Wagoner Sr. was a member of the Lucas County Board of Elections. He is the father of Mark Wagoner Jr., a politician who served in the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives.

Governor Mike DeWine acknowledged the passing of Wagoner, Sr. and referenced Psalms 23. DeWine said, “To my fellow Ohioans, for a while it’s going to seem like we are living in the valley of death, and like we are living in a valley of that shadow, but we will get through this. The sun will shine again” (NCB4 Staff, 2020).



Coronavirus Cases in Ohio, United States, and Global

(Updated March 23, 2020)

Figure 4. Retrieved here.





Five (5) Anecdotally Drugs to Combat COVID-19 (Anecdotal means not necessarily reliable)

To date, there have been anecdotal successes with five drugs, namely Remdesivir, Chloroquine (also known as hydroxychloroquine), Favipiravir (also known as Avigan), Kevzara (also known as Sarilumab), and Actemra (also known as Tocilizumab). Drug details shown below in Figure 5.


Show  entries


Drugs Drug Company Disease Expert Support Organizations Prior Successes
Remdesivir Gilead Sciences Bruce Aylward World Health Organization Ebola
Chloroquine Mylan
Didier Raoult Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention
Favipiravir Fujifilm
Zhang Xinmin China National Center for Biotechnology

Ebola /Influenza
Kevzara Sanofi and
Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Genovese M.C., Fleischmann, R., Kivitz, A.J., et al. Food and Drug
Actemra Genentech and
Roche Holding
Food and Drug

Showing 1 to 5 of 5 entries



Figure 5. Source: Duberstein, B. (2020, March 21). All the drugs proving anecdotally effective against COVID-19, and the companies that make them. Retrieved here.



U.S. Stimulus Package


The Trump administration’s plans are to provide American households with relief checks to lessen hardships caused by COVID-19 (Breuninger, 2020). The relief checks will be included in the $1.2 trillion stimulus package. However, negotiations are still being discussed between House and Senate.

Key Points:

  • White House staff are meeting with congressional leaders of both parties on the massive stimulus package to dull the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
  • Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary laid out details of the Trump administration’s plan to send American households relief checks.
  • The 2020 stimulus checks will be based on the 2018 tax return. However, the Senate bill contains a provision that the 2019 tax return can be used if persons did not file a return for tax year 2018.
  • In a recent proposal, Senate Republicans implied that adults could receive a check for as much as $1,200 ($2,400 for joint returns), and qualifying children will add $500 to the payment amount.

Figure 6. Source: Wang, J. (2020, March 19). Forbes. Retrieved here.





1st Choice Family Services employs preventative measures to avert the spread of coronavirus as adopted from ODH (2020) as 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 persons who are coughing, blowing their noses, or sneezing,
  • Guard your cough or sneeze with a clean tissue, then toss/throw tissue in the trash container, and
  • Practicesocial distancing (6-feet spacing) when in public environments


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




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

1st Choice Family Services staff have improved cleaning routines in clients’ homes and each home is stocked with hand and surface-disinfecting sprays, care packages, and paper supplies.

In addition, studies found that “viable virus can be spotted 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). Appropriately, the Leadership Team has instructed all staff to practice the same safety precautions in their homes that they practice in clients’ homes.





  • 1st Choice Family Services will daily monitor and update staff on the latest news on the COVID-19 Outbreak.
  • 1st Choice Family Services will continue to follow CDC and local public health guidelines for COVID-19.
  • 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.