Drug & Alcohol

Earlier this week, the Department of Health (DOH) released the COVID Alert Exposure Notification App, which is now available and can be downloaded for free in the Google and Apple stores (links provided below). The COVID Alert PA is a free mobile App using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and the Exposure Notification System developed by Apple and Google. The app offers:

  • Interactive COVID-19 symptom checker
  • Opt-in for alerts for potential exposures to the virus
  • Updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in PA
  • Advice for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19

COVID Alert PA protects both privacy and personal information. The app does not use GPS, location services, or any movement or geographical information. It will never collect, transmit, or store personal information. It is completely anonymous.

Existing traditional contact tracing processes rely on a positive individual to remember and name who they have been in contact with recently, and for how long. In many cases, positive COVID-19 individuals may not even know the people they were in close contact with, like if the contact happened on a bus or train, at a check-out line in a grocery store, a restaurant or some other public venue.

The app supplements traditional contact tracing processes by being able to identify strangers a positive app user came in contact with and help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19. If the app detects that you have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will receive a push notification on your phone. This is called an exposure alert and will be followed by what you should do to monitor your own health. You can learn more about the app and how it works here.

The Department of Human Services is committed to supporting this effort and helping protect the people we serve encouraging use of COVID Alert PA. This technology only works if others have downloaded the app, which is why they are asking all Pennsylvanians to unite against COVID and download the app.

DOH also has an extensive catalog of marketing materials including posters, social media posts, press releases, and other customizable content if you are interested in helping them to get the word out.

TRAINING

Drug and Alcohol Confidentiality

DDAP is pleased to announce the availability of an online training module for Drug and Alcohol Confidentiality through TrainPA. This training is a review of the federal and state confidentiality laws and regulations protecting the privacy of those seeking and receiving services for Substance Use Disorders, and is designed to help participants gain the basic knowledge needed to effectively perform their job duties within the parameters of confidentiality protections. It is required to be completed within 365 days of hire for SCA staff and their contracted providers.

WEBINARS

Talking About PTSD: Improving Communication and Care for Refugee Patients
A webinar with mental health experts, medical interpreters, refugee community leaders, and refugee health care providers who will discuss the challenges of communicating mental health treatment options across language and cultural differences and how new resources can help foster better communication between clinicians, professional medical interpreters, and refugee patients. By strengthening providers’ knowledge of PTSD treatment for refugees, providing tools for clinicians and interpreters, and advocating for evidence-based PTSD treatment for refugee adults, we can help refugees feel more comfortable with mental health referral and treatment. Register today.

Lifeline Webinar: Tools, Training and Tips for Call Center Success | September 24 – 2 pm
In a year of enduring crises, helping those who help others is essential to achieving progress. In this “behind-the-scenes” webinar, learn how the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network is delivering tools and training to address compassion fatigue among call center staff; hear from front line workers who are helping callers navigate the pandemic and social unrest; and leave with self-care strategies you can apply in your own organization. Experience the on-the-ground impact of Lifeline call centers and learn more about their valuable role during these challenging times – register today.

The Social Security Administration is hosting an upcoming National Disability Forum called “COVID-19 and SSA Programs: Serving Our Beneficiaries Through Unprecedented Times.” During this virtual event, advocates will share best practices for adapting service models to meet the demands of the pandemic. Speakers from government agencies will also discuss how they have modified policies and procedures during the pandemic.

This forum will take place on Tuesday, September 22, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm ET. Attendees must register by September 18. Use this link to learn more.

As part of DHS Secretary Teresa Miller’s update, please see this latest message regarding DHS’ actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This contains the information shared by Secretary Miller during the stakeholder call on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. The document highlights responses to ongoing questions and answers asked during the webinars and includes updated information on funding, regulatory waivers, reopening guidance, and other resources. If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.