Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Shares COVID-19 Info in Open Letter

Southampton Hospital is moving forward with its merger with Stony Brook
Stony Brook Southampton Emergency Room, Photo: Brendan J. O'Reilly

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital sent out an open letter to the Hamptons community on Tuesday, March 24 to explain their current triage procedure, telehealth options, donation needs and instructions, and what to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus / COVID-19.

Dear Friends,

As concerns and numbers surrounding COVID-19 continue to rise, we want to share with you the efforts we are taking here at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital to help protect our East End community, patients, health workers and staff.

It is important to recognize this situation is fluid, and that we are responding in real time to vital new information as it arrives. Our dedicated healthcare workers and staff adapt quickly to the evolving CDC, New York State and Suffolk County Department of Health guidelines and policies, and conference daily with our colleagues at Stony Brook Medicine (SBM), including Stony Brook University and Eastern Long Island Hospitals.

In conjunction with SBM, we have activated a Hospital Incident Command Center (HICS) that convenes once a day to hear reports from the ambulatory and other departments. This helps us provide the best possible patient care, protect our healthcare providers, review the supply chain, allocate bed needs, ensure proper staffing, and establish and maintain the best isolation procedures and more.

We have installed a forward triage at the entrance of our Emergency Department (ED). English and Spanish signage directs patients with Influenza-like Illnesses (ILI, which includes COVID-19) to use a camera/speaker phone for instructions from a nurse on how to don a mask and enter the ED. We are sending patient samples to the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratories in Albany. Results may take 3-5 days during which time the patient is to remain in isolation and we are actively investigating ways to expedite this process.

Should the need arise, we have converted Parrish Memorial Hall to serve overflow from the Emergency Department. We are working to significantly increase our capacity for overflow beds, both ICU and medical-surgical, and are reviewing equipment and staffing that may be required. We have enlisted our medical residents and have other healthcare workers and staff standing-by, ready to deploy.

Telehealth is becoming a critical component in combating COVID-19 nationwide. At Stony Brook Medicine, telehealth predates the current coronavirus pandemic and has been used to serve the psychiatry and neurology services in several settings. We, here at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital are increasing telemedicine services. To date, in the Stony Brook Medicine system, more than 500 healthcare professionals are ready to see patients virtually.

As part of our efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus to patients and staff, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital has postponed elective surgeries and procedures, as well as mammography screening. Urgent procedures or operations necessary to preserve life and function will not be postponed.

Per NYS DOH guidelines, with limited exceptions, visitors are not permitted in the ED or Hospital. We have canceled all wellness programs, exercise classes, and nutrition workshops. However, we are providing some classes via our YouTube channel and Zoom.

For information in English and Spanish about COVID-19 testing and our Emergency Department guidelines, please call 631-726-FACT (3228).

Should you be experiencing flu-like symptoms, cough and fever, please call your doctor. If you present to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital ED with a fever, cough, and flu-like symptom, including respiratory issues, please use the camera/speakerphone directly outside the Emergency Department before entering the building. A nurse will guide you on next steps, including donning a mask.

To help prevent spreading the virus: please stay home and when venturing out, maintain social distancing of 6 feet. Wash your hands well and often for at least 20 seconds or use a quality sanitizing hand gel. Don’t touch your nose, mouth or face unless you have cleaned your hands; when you sneeze, cover your nose or mouth with a tissue. Stay home if you are sick.

We have received numerous offers to donate PPE and other equipment. Your resourcefulness and generosity continues to humble us. If you have questions or would like to make a donation, please contact Steve Bernstein ([email protected]) so he can record and track your donation. Please do not go or drop off items at the ED or the hospital as we need to keep those areas strictly for patients.

For updates on our local response to COVID-19, please visit our website as we update it frequently southampton.stonybrook.medicine.edu.

For information in English and Spanish about how to best present to the ED at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, please call 631-726-FACT (3228).

Also helpful is the Stony Brook Medicine’s COVID-19 phone line at 631-638-1230 with trained staff to answer your questions.

Thank you for your support, patience and understanding during this time. We are very proud to be serving you.

Robert S. Chaloner
Chief Administrative Officer

Fredric I. Weinbaum, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Chief Operating Officer

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