On a day-to-day basis, the confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have been dramatically increasing across Suffolk County, with 2,660 confirmed cases (as of Wednesday, March 26).
In response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for hospitals to work towards increasing bed capacity by 100 percent, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is rolling out a plan over the next few weeks that progressively expands its bed count. The Hospital is planning on having 160-180 beds available over the next few weeks. The Hospital will do so by repurposing areas throughout the hospital that will be utilized safely care for suspected (PUI) and confirmed Coronavirus patients.
In an effort to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus to both patients and staff, the Hospital has postponed elective surgeries and procedures, and mammography screening. Procedures and operations considered urgent or essential to preserve life and function will not be postponed.
If X-rays are needed at either the Hospital or at the Hampton Bays Atrium, patients must now call and schedule an appointment in advance, until further notice. Walk-ins are no longer accepted. X-rays and lab work at the Hospital’s East Hampton Healthcare and Westhampton locations have been suspended for the time being.
At the moment, the Hospital notes that they have adequate supplies (PPE, vents, beds, etc.) to meet the current demand, but the expected surge that is anticipated over the next few weeks may cause a strain. The Hospital is actively keeping an eye on quantities and are taking innovative measures to procure the necessary supplies.
“We are bolstered by the outpour of community support for our healthcare workers and staff,” Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Barbara-Jo Howard, Director of Communications & Marketing, relayed.
As the guidelines on proper PPE use, per CDC guidelines, are being updated regularly as new information is available, the Hospital is constantly re-educating and updating healthcare workers and staff.
At the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Emergency Department entrance there is now a forward triage manned by a nurse in personal protective equipment 24/7 who screens patients. If a patient has been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms – such as flu-like symptoms, including cough, fever, and respiratory issues, and/or has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they are required to wear a mask before entering the Emergency Department.
Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is sending patient test samples to the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratories in Albany. Currently, it takes between 3-4 days to get the test results back. Patients remain in isolation during that time period. The Hospital is looking into additional sources to aid with the expedition of results. If needed, the Parrish Memorial Hall will be utilized for Emergency Department overflow.
The Hospital has canceled its wellness programs, exercise classes, and nutrition workshops, but some of the classes will be available via YouTube.com.
To contact Stony Brook Southampton Hospital about COVID-19 testing and their Emergency Department guidelines, call 631-726-3228 or visit southampton.stonybrookmedicine.edu.
Additionally, Stony Brook Medicine has established a Coronavirus phone triage line for the community: Coronavirus Hotline 631-638-1320. From 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., Monday through Friday, registered nurses will be available to answer calls, evaluate callers, and direct them to the appropriate healthcare setting for aid.
Those interested in supporting the Hospital by making a donation (supplies, food, etc.), should contact Steven Bernstein at [email protected] .
The Hospital advises all to: “Take care of yourself and those you care about and respect by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands often, and staying home.”
For more information, visit southampton.stonybrookmedicine.edu.