On Tuesday, May 12th, Triangle, Inc. held a briefing for its state legislative delegation to provide an update on how it has transitioned all major services to remote learning to serve individuals with disabilities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Triangle CEO Coleman Nee also reviewed the organization’s decision making timeline since early March. Triangle’s contingency plans emphasized communication with local boards of health, state agencies, and families of our residents and participants. Safety plans for each residential home were filed with respective municipalities and gained positive feedback. As the Department of Developmental Services made mobile testing available to residential homes in April, Triangle was one of the first organizations to take advantage of this service on the first day it became available.
“We needed to know as much as possible about our staff and participants’ health to inform our decision making and to best protect the individuals in our care,” said Drew Warren, Triangle Chief Program Officer who oversees Triangle’s residential homes.
Through Friday, May 15th, Triangle has experienced 38 positive cases of COVID-19 amongst its staff and residents. Thirty of those individuals have now safely ended their period of isolation and the remaining eight are being fully supported by the organization. Three individuals in our care were hospitalized as part of their diagnosis, but have now been discharged and are back in their homes with their housemates and Triangle staff members.
Triangle has remained dedicated to our staff members throughout the crisis. Staff members who continue to work on the frontlines have received enhanced pay, including a bonus structure based on hours worked in the community on top of overtime pay. Additional hazard pay was enacted to support residential staff members who worked weeks-long shifts in one of our homes directly affected by a positive COVID-19 case.
Triangle leaders also briefed the delegation on the status of state funding levels, which have been in flux as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reacts to the pandemic. More than 20 legislators and/or staff members joined the video conference, including Triangle Board Member Rep. Paul Donato. Several officials, including Sen. Sal DiDominico, Sen. Jason Lewis, Sen. Joan Lovely, and Rep. Paul Tucker, spoke in support to Triangle and the larger provider community as they continue to support with individuals with disabilities during the pandemic and into the future.
To read more about Triangle’s programing transition since the stay-at-home advisory was enacted, please visit our previous blog posts, including features on our Day Programs, Workforce Development efforts, IMPACT classes, and our EPIC service learning program. If you would like to support our efforts, you can donate to our Fund for Ability, which is helping to support the organization as it navigates this crisis and help ensure its long-term sustainability.