Coronavirus Latest Updates

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Coronavirus: Need to Know

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Maintaining a Safe and Effective Care Environment

A safe and effective care environment is our highest priority, and Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) hospitals and medical practices have undertaken necessary steps to protect our patients and workforce as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolves.

On this site, you will find the most up-to-date information on our patient and visitor guidelines, as well as details about testing that is being conducted on some of our hospital campuses, by appointment only. In addition, information is available on how to donate supplies or make a contribution to our health network.

Thank you for your support. 


Please call the DOH’s coronavirus hotline at 888.364.3065 or visit Health.NY.Gov for additional information.  You can also visit the CDC.gov for updates and prevention tips.

Westchester County Department of Health Standing Commissioner's Order for Isolation Protocol of Lab Confirmed 2019-Novel Coronavirus

Our Plans for Care

All WMCHealth hospitals and medical practices have long-standing and the most up-to-date protocols in place to respond to infectious diseases. These protocols include, but are not limited to:

  • Strict adherence to care guidelines
  • Protective attire
  • The use of negative-pressure environments to contain airborne pathogens.
  • We routinely train our staff on these protocols and protocol adherence is monitored by infection prevention specialists.

As an added safety precaution, multilingual signs are present at key hospital entry points asking patients and visitors to share their potential for exposures, such as recent travel, symptoms and local exposure.

If a patient arrives at a WMCHealth member hospital or medical practice with a suspicion of COVID-19 exposure or if key symptoms are present, the patient will be masked and escorted to an isolated and contained area for additional evaluation and care in cooperation with public health agencies, such as the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Our Commitment

WMCHealth is committed to providing a safe and comfortable care environment for patients, their families and our staff at all of our member hospitals and medical practices throughout the Hudson Valley. Our care specialists are working collaboratively with public health agencies and closely monitoring COVID-19 developments. Please call the DOH’s coronavirus hotline at 888.364.3065 or visit Health.NY.Gov or CDC.gov for additional information and prevention tips.

Some common questions, with answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19):

Symptoms, Spread and Treatment

Q.        What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

A.        Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses that usually last for a short amount of time with symptoms including: runny nose; headache; cough; sore throat; fever and a general feeling of being unwell. In some cases, human coronaviruses can cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants and older adults.

Q.        How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

A.        Anyone exhibiting a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever with a general feeling of being unwell should see a healthcare provider. Importantly, notify your healthcare provider about potential exposures, such as international travel within the past 30 days.

Q.        How is COVID-19 transmitted?

A.        COVID-19 is transmitted via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections are spread.

Q.        How is COVID-19 treated?

A.        There is no specific treatment for coronavirus at this time beyond general care one might receive for respiratory infection.

Precautions:

Q.        Are there precautions I can take to protect myself from COVID-19?

A.        The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Q.        I received the flu vaccination. Will my flu shot protect me from COVID-19?

A.        The flu vaccine is not known to prevent COVID-19.

Q.        Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

A.        There is no vaccine at this time.

Q.        Should I wear a facemask to protect myself?

A.        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates its protection guidelines regularly.  For the most current guidelines, please visit CDC.gov.

Q.        What precautions/actions is WMCHealth taking to manage the situation?

A.        All WMCHealth hospitals and medical practices follow stringent infection prevention protocols. These protocols include, but are not limited to, strict adherence to care guidelines, protective attire and the use of negative-pressure environments to contain airborne pathogens. We routinely train our staff in these protocols and protocol adherence is monitored by infection prevention specialists.

As an added safety precaution, multilingual signs are present at key hospital entry points asking visitors to share their potential for recent exposure.

Updated: April 3, 2020


Please call the DOH’s coronavirus hotline at 888.364.3065 or visit Health.NY.Gov for additional information.  You can also visit the CDC.gov for updates and prevention tips. 

Visitation

The following visitation restrictions are in place for Westchester Medical Center due to COVID-19.

  • Each adult patient is permitted to designate up to (5) five support people to visit during their admission.
  • Only (1) one designated support person may visit each day.
  • Visiting hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visitors will not be granted access until 11 am. Please plan your visit accordingly.
  • Designated support people must be 18 years or older.
  • All visitors, including designated support people, must be screened for symptoms and recent travel. Any visitor subject to quarantine restrictions for recent travel domestically or abroad, will not be allowed visitation. This includes quarantine orders specific to New York State available at coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.
  • Exceptions to the above are allowed for labor and delivery, end-of-life and extenuating circumstances visitation, as well as patients travelling from outside New York for care that cannot be delayed.
  • Information on patient visitation at the Behavioral Health Center is provided upon admission.

The following visitation restrictions are in place for Maria Fareri Children's Hospital due to COVID-19.

  • For pediatric inpatients, a parent or guardian may designate up to five (5) support people to visit during a child’s admission.
  • Only (2) two Designated Support Persons may visit each day.
  • Visiting hours are 24 hours, 7 days a week
  • Designated support people must be 18 years or older.
  • All visitors, including designated support people, must be screened for symptoms and recent travel. Any visitor subject to quarantine restrictions for recent travel domestically or abroad, will not be allowed visitation. This includes quarantine orders specific to New York State available at coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.

Required Mask Use

For the health and safety of our patients and workforce, all employees must wear procedure masks inside most of our buildings and units that house patients, in addition to other personal protective equipment requirements.

While visitation is extremely limited, all visitors will be issued masks and must wear them while inside our buildings.

Thermal Scanning 

We are now using thermal scanning to check all approved visitors for fever.  To protect the health and safety of our patients and our workforce, you must also protect your own health to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

  • WMCHealth protocols during this time require that all visitors are fever-free for at least 72 hours before entering the hospital.

While a fever is a symptom of COVID-19 – it can also be a symptom of many other illnesses. If you are concerned about your fever, please reach out directly to your primary care physician. We will continue to scan any approved visitors for fever. Once you are fever free for 72 hours and without symptoms of illness, you can return for screening, and then visitation after screening. 

Outpatient Services

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is making several temporary changes to our ambulatory and outpatient services to ensure that we are able to care for our patients in a safe and effective care environment in our hospitals and medical practices.

Read Our Update to Elective Ambulatory Services/Ambulatory Procedures/Ambulatory Surgeries

Read Our Update to Advanced Physician Services 

WMCHealth’s 10 hospitals, and our emergency departments, are open to care for our patients.  

Updated: September 15, 2020


WMCHealth offers both COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing at sites in Valhalla, Poughkeepsie, Kingston and Margaretville

Testing is available by appointment only.

How do I make an appointment?

What should I bring?

  • When you come to your appointment, you will need to bring your photo identification and insurance card, if applicable.

When will I receive my results?

  • At this time, diagnostic results can take up to five days and antibody results can take up to three days.

What is the difference between a COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing?

  • Diagnostic (viral) tests check samples from your respiratory system (such as swabs of the inside of the nose) to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Antibody testing, also known as serological testing, detects antibodies present in the blood when the body is responding to a specific infection, like COVID-19. Serologic assays such as the antibody IgG test (used by WMCHealth) are an indicator of exposure and antibody development -- and may show if an individual has ever been infected with the virus, even if they did not have symptoms. As such, an antibody test detects the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus, rather than detecting the virus itself. In the early days of an infection, when the body’s immune response is still building, antibodies may not be present in detectable levels.
  • An antibody test does not take the place of testing for active infection. WMCHealth operates coronavirus infection testing sites on or near each hospital campus across our network.

Additional Information:

Please call the DOH’s coronavirus hotline at 888.364.3065 or visit Health.NY.Gov for additional information. You can also visit the CDC.gov for updates and prevention tips.

The self-pay cost for an individual seeking an antibody test for COVID-19 is $75.

The self-pay cost for an individual seeking a COVID-19 diagnostic test is $75. 

Updated: June 12, 2020


Please call the DOH’s coronavirus hotline at 888.364.3065 or visit Health.NY.Gov for additional information.  You can also visit the CDC.gov for updates and prevention tips.

Support Our WMCHealth Heroes 

Our WMCHealth Heroes are working diligently to serve and protect our patients and workforce as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves.

Help support our efforts to care for all patients by making a gift to your local hospital.

To Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

We are appreciative of community members who have connected us to legitimate resources for the following:

  • N95 masks
  • Surgical masks
  • Face shields or goggles
  • Fluid resistant isolation gowns
  • Non-latex (nitrile) gloves

We ask that no one deliver materials directly to our hospitals.

If you are aware of such resources in the community or have materials to donate, please contact us at supplies@wmchealth.org

Updated: May 19, 2020