SUFFOLK COUNTY

Local hospitals prepare for virus spread

Hospitals assure the community protocols are in place and encourage residents to practice good health measures like washing their hands.

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Local hospitals assure the community protocols are in place and encourage res- idents to practice good health measures like washing their hands.

Long Island Community Hospital, East Patchogue

According to hospital president and CEO Richard Margulis, LI Community puts high emphasis on emergency pre- paredness whether it’s in the middle of a national health alert or just an average day.

“For the coronavirus, we have a thor- ough plan in place and experts constant- ly reviewing it to ensure it meets our patient, visitor and employee needs,” he said, also explaining that the hospital follows New York State Department of

Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines at all times. “If a potential coronavirus patient reach- es our doors, it is immediately escalated to our infection prevention team and we notify the DOH.”

Additional LI Community staff is screening all patients for the coronavi- rus, flu and other infectious diseases at the hospital and all outpatient locations.

“We are prepared with the appropriate patient care equipment and supplies necessary to treat all patients,” Margu- lis assured. “Daily ordering and adjust- ments are made as we keep a close watch on our inventory of supplies.”

Also, all LI Community employees have written protocols to guide them and are required to follow up to ensure they are following the policies.

“Communication is very important during these times,” he added. “We are in communication with DOH and CDC regu- larly, but even more so now, staying on top of all of the latest updates.”

The hospital has also enhanced their patient and visitor signage and admin- istration said they communicate with their employees and physicians regularly, ensuring all new developments are known.

Good Samaritan Hospital, West Islip

Catholic Health Services, which Good Sam is a subsidiary of, released a state- ment in response to a part-time employ- ee at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre testing positive for COVID-19 on March 3.

“After being off for a period of time, the individual worked a single eight-hour shift at MMC toward the end of February and did not exhibit any symptoms of illness at that time. The individual went to another Long Island hospital, because he was not feeling well. He was admitted and has since tested positive for infection with the virus,” the statement reads, continuing on to explain that MMC is conducting a contact investigation in accordance with CDC guidelines.

As MMC is another subsidiary of Catholic Health Services, the protocol released by CHS is congruent across its facilities.

“CHS is prepared to diagnose and treat patients showing symptoms of COVID-19 while also taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the disease.”

CHS’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy added assurance to CHS’ preparedness and in-place protocols.

“The health system is prepared, and prevention and control protocols are in place to appropriately isolate patients who enter its facilities to prevent the potential trans- mission of infection,” O’Shaughnessy continued. “All CHS clinical personnel are educated on the latest CDC and New York State Department of Health coronavirus guidelines and recommendations.”

Southside Hospital, Bay Shore

Northwell Health, which Southside Hospital is a subsidiary of, released information regarding several aspects of the coro- navirus, including what people should do when they experience flu-like symptoms. “If you aren’t feeling well, the best advice is to stay home and rest. Drink plenty of clear fluids. If symptoms persist or worsen, call your primary care physician or other health care provider. Consider urgent care centers if necessary, but avoid going to emergency departments — which are historically busy this time of year — unless your symptoms worsen and you have no other options to receive care. If you have not traveled to China or other affected areas and you have no other risk factors, you probably have the flu, not COVID-19,” reads Northwell Health’s website.

In terms of prevention of contraction and spread, Northwell provided a state- ment explaining that most people who do contract the virus will only experience mild symptoms.

“Those at risk of a more severe case are the elderly, those with a compromised immune system and people with another underlying illness such as heart disease or diabetes. To minimize spreading the virus, it is critical to practice good hygiene, washing your hands regularly with alco- hol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water. Also, make sure to cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow and immediately discard tissues after being used. Stay home when you are sick and keep away from those infected and avoid large crowds,” the response reads.

Northwell Health also indicated that all its hospitals, including Southside, have put in place protocol to quickly identify potential COVID-19 patients “as they enter our facilities, isolate them appropriately, prevent transmission of infections and protect front-line caregivers from potential exposure.”

Upon the inquiry of how worried cit- izens should be, Northwell advises to remain informed and cautious but remain calm.

“While there are legitimate concerns over the virus, there is no need to panic. Most health care organizations including Northwell have been preparing for the virus to hit the United States for weeks. And there has been collaboration among health systems and local, state and federal health organizations,” the response reads.

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