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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.

 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.

Updated: October 1, 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

  • Patients can designate up to two support people for visitation. One support person will be allowed visitation for up to four consecutive hours (per patient, per day) between the hours of 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Exceptions to the above are allowed for:

  • Pediatric patients
  • Labor and delivery (one birth partner visitation 24/7)
  • End-of-life and extenuating circumstances visitation
  • Behavioral Health units have visitation guidelines which are provided to patients and families upon admission.

Additionally:

  • 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 https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.
  • Visitors should remain in patient rooms at all times and exit the campus when their visitation time or accompaniment is over.
  • All hospital, state and federal guidelines regarding infection control practices must be followed.

For patients’ using personal devices for communication with family and friends: All WMCHealth policies must be adhered to regarding patient photography and recording/videotaping. Any live video streaming between patients and family/friends must be done with the patient’s and WMCHealth approval, be time limited, should not include clinical procedures or staff and should not interfere with WMCHealth clinical treatment or operations.

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.

 While visitor restrictions are in place there are other methods to facilitate communication:

  • Phone
  • Facetime
  • We are happy to work with your loved one on this. 

Temporary Changes in 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 Medical Practice Office Visits in Three Counties

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

Updated:  November 23, 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: October 1, 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