(Photo: John Partipilo)
As the COVID-19 delta strain continues to infect more Tennesseans, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities supported by state programs, and the staff members who care for them, have seen a notable uptick in infections since July as well.
DIDD programs serve a total of about 12,500 people with disabilities. At least 1,692 tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began — 118 since December of last year. Another 66 people have died, nine since December.
Many of those served in state programs have waited this past year out, with limited opportunities for outings, work and day programs.
The resurgence of the virus occurred just as many individuals were resuming those activities.
“We have had many people supported anxious to return to their jobs and community activities, and we want to make sure they are given opportunities to exercise that option, assess their own readiness and abilities to safely engage in community supports and think through the risks and benefits of this decision,” said Cara Kumari, assistant commissioner of education and external affairs.
“That said, anyone who wants to remain at home is able to do so and have access to Homebound services,” she said.
DIDD provides services to Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities, defined as possessing an IQ of 70 or less, and people with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, in order for them to live as independently as possible.
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