Please familiarize yourself with the updated guidance by clicking below.

Certified Day Programs have re-opened in both Franklin & St. Lawrence Counties. Please see our detailed COVID - 19 Safety Plan by clicking on the link just below.

Visitations at our IRA's have resumed, subject to the guidelines at the link just below.

Contact Information

For all information regarding Community, Day and Residential Habilitation Services, please contact Nichole Belonge at (315) 379-8240 or by email at

For all questions regarding Environmental Modifications and Respite Services, please contact Sherri Hewitson at (315) 379-8205 or by email at

Please check frequently for updates from the team at NYS OPWDD.

Community Health Center of the North Country offers COVID-19 Testing to the general public at their Canton Health Center, located at 4 Commerce Lane. If you have an order from your healthcare provider to be tested, or you feel you should be tested, please visit the COVID-19 Testing page for more information.


All New Yorkers 6 months and older can now schedule appointments to receive coronavirus vaccines.

Current information on COVID Boosters:

Pfizer - Booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are available and recommended for anyone age 12 and older in New York State.

Moderna - Booster shots of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine are available and recommended for anyone age 12 and older in New York State.

J&J - The FDA and CDC recommend a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine for people age 12 and older living in New York State, to be given at least two months after the first shot. Check with your doctor for further guidance.


Is the vaccine safe and effective?

After a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized or approved for use by the FDA, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for adverse events (possible side effects). This ongoing monitoring can pick up on adverse events that may not have been seen in clinical trials. If an unexpected adverse event is seen, experts quickly study it further to see if it is a true safety concern. Experts then decide whether changes are needed in US vaccine recommendations.

In New York State, an added level of review was established to ensure COVID vaccine safety. Following FDA approval, experts on New York State's independent COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Advisory Task Force thoroughly review vaccine research before recommending any vaccine to New Yorkers. Three COVID-19 vaccines have currently been approved by both the FDA and New York State's independent Clinical Advisory Task Force: Pfizer/BioNTech , Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna.

Will the vaccine give me COVID?

No. None of the vaccines being studied are made up of materials that can cause disease. For example, the first vaccine approved by the FDA uses a small, harmless part of the virus's genetic material called 'mRNA'. This is not the virus. mRNA vaccines teach your body to create virus proteins. Your immune system develops antibodies against these proteins that will help you fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if you are exposed to it. That is called an immune response.

Are the vaccines safe for children and pregnant women?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future. As of June 20, 2022, the CDC has recommended vaccination for children 6 months and older.

If you get a vaccine do you need a negative COVID test beforehand?

No. The CDC does not recommend COVID-19 screening tests before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Please consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about the COVID vaccine and your health.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don't know how long this protection will last.

Will the vaccine make me sick?

You may not notice any changes in how you feel after getting the shot. But it's also possible to feel a little "under the weather." This can happen after any vaccine. It is the body's immune response to getting vaccinated and a sign that the vaccine is starting to work.

After the COVID-19 vaccine, you may have:
• A sore arm where you got the shot
• A headache
• Chills
• Fever
• Tiredness

Over the counter pain relievers and fever reducers may help. You should feel better in a day or two. If you still don't feel well after two or three days, talk to your health care provider.

Can I get an allergic reaction from the COVID-19 vaccine?

People can have allergic reactions to any medication or biological product such as a vaccine. Most allergic reactions occur shortly after a vaccine is administered, which is why the CDC recommends that persons with a history of anaphylaxis (due to any cause) are observed for 30 minutes after vaccination, while all other persons are observed for 15 minutes after vaccination. All vaccination sites must be equipped to ensure appropriate medical treatment is available in the event of an unlikely allergic reaction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone with an allergy to "any component" of the vaccine not get the vaccine.

Will there be side effects from the vaccine?

No serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported. Common side effects that have been observed in clinical studies include fatigue, muscle soreness at the injection site and fever.

Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don't know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.

How long will vaccine immunity last?

Researchers do not yet know how long immunity lasts after vaccination. That's why continuing prevention practices like wearing a mask, washing your hands regularly and social distancing will still be important.

I've heard about "herd immunity." What would it take to get the population to "herd immunity" for COVID19?

'Herd immunity' happens when enough people have protection from a disease that it is unlikely that the disease will continue to spread. As a result, the virus won't easily spread among the community. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. They also do not know how long the vaccine will protect people.
Letting COVID-19 spread through communities naturally would lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death.

Will there be more than one vaccine available?

Yes. Currently, three vaccines have been authorized by the FDA, and more vaccines are expected.

Will I need more than one shot?

All three of the currently available COVID vaccines in the United States require booster shots to remain effective.

Is the vaccine free?

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines will be available at no cost.


For factual information regarding the current Coronavirus cases occurring across the country, including safety and prevention tips, what to do if you are sick, and what you can do to prevent the spread of illness, please visit any of the following links.

CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Resources
St. Lawrence County Department of Health COVID-19 Resources
World Health Organization COVID-19 Q&A
DOH Use of Cloth Face Coverings