Capital Region hospitals release preparedness plan

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Capital District hospitals released a preparedness plan to outline their coronavirus response. The plan, announced Friday at Albany Medical Center, includes suspending routine visits and putting a stronger visitor policy in place.

“We all have come together today to let everyone know that the professionals of this region’s health care systems are working together to address this public health issue,” said Dennis P. McKenna, M.D., incoming president and CEO of Albany Med. “The most important thing to remember is that the hospitals of this region are prepared for any contingency and there is no reason to panic. The safety of our patients and staff is paramount.”

“My colleagues at Ellis, and our counterparts at hospitals across the Capital Region, know there are challenges ahead for our community,” said David Liebers, M.D. an infectious disease specialist and Ellis Medicine’s vice president and chief medical officer. “That’s why we’re taking a coordinated, collaborative approach, working with each other and with the state Department of Health, our county public health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control.”

Participating hospitals

  • Albany Med Health System
  • Columbia Memorial Hospital
  • Saratoga Hospital
  • Ellis Medicine
  • St. Peter’s Health Partners
  • Glens Falls Hospital
  • St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam

Preparedness plan

  • Routine visits are suspended.
  • No visitors under the age of 16 will be permitted entry to the facility.
  • No visitors who have a pending or positive COVID-19 test.
  • Visitors will not be permitted to enter if they say they have a fever and/or respiratory symptoms, have had close contact with an individual who has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, or have traveled to areas with outbreaks in the past 14 days. If non-patient visitors answer “yes” to any of those questions, they will not be permitted to enter. Patients with respiratory symptoms will be masked.
  • Guests may be turned away based on the concerns of securing patient and staff safety.
  • Visitors should go to individual hospital websites for further information.
  • Those who seek or require testing at Albany Med for COVID-19 will be treated in an area that is isolated from any other patient care area.

Visitor exceptions

  • Obstetric patients may have one support person at a time.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have one birth parent plus one significant other who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit.
  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have two visitors.
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, in which a family member is key to their care, may have one visitor.
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregiver provides safety) may have one visitor.
  • Minors under age 18 may have one visitor, parent, or guardian.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have one visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the procedure/surgery.
  • Patients who have an outpatient appointment, as well as those visiting the Emergency Department, may have one person with them.
  • Guests who meet an exception will be allowed inside the hospital but will be restricted to the patient’s room. Once a guest leaves a patient’s room; they must leave the hospital.

COVID-19 testing

*The hospitals are encouraging individuals to get a referral for COVID-19 testing from their primary health care provider. Testing will be provided at the following locations.

  • Albany Medical Center- white tent next to the Emergency Department at 43 New Scotland Ave., Albany. Use the ambulance ramp from the corner of Myrtle and New Scotland avenues.
  • Columbia Memorial Health– Emergency Department at 71 Prospect Ave., Hudson; Rapid Care: Copake at 283 Mountain View Rd., Copake; Rapid Care: Valatie at 2827 Route 9, Valatie.
  • Ellis Medicine– ground level, Rosa Road parking garage at 1101 Nott St., Schenectady. Patients should drive up and remain in their cars for testing and prescriptions are required.
  • Saratoga Hospital– tent next to Emergency Department at 211 Church St., Saratoga Springs. Use the ambulance ramp on Myrtle Street. Specimen collection is by appointment only and must be ordered by a licensed health care provider, the New York State Department of Health or Saratoga County Public Health Services. There is no walk-in testing.
  • St. Peter’s Health Partners– Albany Memorial Campus at 600 Northern Blvd., Albany. Follow signs to the Conklin entrance. Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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