Adirondack Health implements new COVID-19 policies

March 19, 2020

Adirondack Health is implementing new patient visitation and testing policies in response to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak.

Patient visitation

All patient visitation has been suspended indefinitely, in accordance with guidance issued yesterday by the New York State Department of Health. Exceptions will be made only when medically necessary (i.e. when the visitor is essential to the care of the patient) or for family members or legal representatives of patients in imminent end-of-life situations.

Any visitor meeting these exceptions will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or fever) or potential exposure to someone with COVID-19. The length and frequency of such visits will still be minimized to the greatest extent possible. Mercy Living Center, the nursing home operated by Adirondack Health in Tupper Lake, suspended resident visitation last week in accordance with earlier guidance from the state health department.

COVID-19 testing

Effective immediately, COVID-19 testing at Adirondack Health is restricted to inpatients at Adirondack Medical Center. Anyone who suspects they have contracted COVID-19 should contact the health system’s dedicated COVID-19 screening and triage clinic at 518-897-2462. Flu-like symptoms should be managed at home by resting, drinking water and self-isolating. Anyone experiencing shortness of breath or other difficulty breathing should go to the nearest emergency department, but also understand that doing so will only result in a COVID-19 test if their assessment leads to hospital admission.

Adirondack Health still has the supplies necessary to conduct COVID-19 tests but enacted the testing policy change in view of the national testing supply shortage and uncertainty surrounding delivery dates for backordered supplies.

“If you’re sick enough to be hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, we need to determine what’s going on,” said Dr. Darci Beiras, Adirondack Health’s chief medical officer. “If you’re not sick enough to be hospitalized, we need to save that test for someone who is, or eventually will be. We are doing our best to balance patient satisfaction with our responsibility to plan for the future.”

To learn more, click here to visit Adirondack Health's COVID-19 resource page. General questions about COVID-19 should be directed to the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 888-364-3065.

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