Lowcountry disability service provider faces challenges due to pandemic

Updated: Aug. 27, 2020 at 8:29 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina agencies offering disability services are facing unique challenges because of the pandemic.

Some of them are are expecting lack of funds, protective gear, or staff.

The Georgetown County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs offers a lot of services for people with intellectual disabilities, ranging from residential care to early intervention. Elizabeth Krauss, the executive director of the agency, said they have made a lot of new adjustments.

As a small service provider in Georgetown County, they have had to apply for a payroll protection loan and CARES act money to get them through this pandemic and keep people employed.

Although it was harder in the beginning, she says getting things like protective gear is still an issue.

“In the beginning it was getting very difficult to obtain certain supplies, and supply chains were going mainly to hospitals. We weren’t seen as a priority,” Krauss said. “We had to reach out of state many times to get supplies to other providers. We’re paying about double the price from what we used to pay for.”

Even with the difficulties, Klauss said her staff have been outstanding during this time. They have also come up with certain solutions to help workers and the people they care for.

“We kind of started looking early on for other solutions and even though telehealth is available, the one thing that has helped us a great deal is hiring an emergency room company that specializes in the intellectual disability population,” Krauss said. “They help assess any situation, council our staff, train our staff on COVID protocols.”

Right now the agency is looking to hire additional staff.

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