With several presumptive positive cases of Coronavirus-19 and one death across South Dakota, tensions continue to rise as we prepare ourselves against the spread of the virus. At Abbott House we have taken steps to help shield our staff and the young people in our care from being exposed to this highly contagious virus.
We have suspended all off grounds activities, the use of volunteers coming to our residential treatment facility and our foster homes, and visits from anyone other than immediate family. Visitors to the Abbott House Residential Treatment Center, including families of Abbott House young people, are being asked to be mindful of their health. We are making Skype and Zoom available to all parents and guardians so they can stay in close contact with their children.
At this point, anyone who currently has a cough, fever or cold-like symptoms, is being asked not to visit the Abbott House Residential Treatment Center or Bridges by Abbott House Foster Homes. Staff members have met with young people in the residential treatment center and Bridges foster homes to discuss the Coronavirus insuring that young people have relevant information without creating panic among the youth and staff.
In an email to Abbott House staff, Executive Director Eric Klooz stated, “If staff or young people contract the virus, we have a plan in place to help keep others safe. The best prevention is handwashing and using disinfectant to wash surfaces.” If our staff and Abbott House visitors use the common-sense guidelines offered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we will get through this. As the situation develops we will continue to make adjustments as necessary.