With the COVID-19 infection rate in NYC now at 6% due to a breakdown in social distancing over Thanksgiving, hospitals have been canceling elective procedures and delaying other treatments wherever they can. The aim is to ensure the continued delivery of urgent care – not just to coronavirus patients, but to anyone who needs it. Staff are stretched to the limit making this work, so there are sometimes delays in service provision and you may not enjoy the same degree of privacy as usual during your visit.
If you’re concerned about the well-being of your loved ones and you want to make sure that they’ll get the care they need, even when service provision is further restricted by the holidays, this article will provide you with some helpful information.
Extended access to doctors
Because of the extra pressure on services caused by the pandemic, many New York doctors are giving up their holiday time this year so that clinics can stay open during the festive period. These are distributed right across the city, also reducing the need for travel at a time when it’s best to use public transport as little as possible. If you need urgent help from a doctor but you don’t feel that the situation requires a hospital visit, or if you’re unsure and would prefer to avoid that, contact your local clinics by phone to see if they can help you. You may be asked some questions first to help staff work out how to prioritize different patients’ needs, so make sure you have all the necessary information to hand.
At present, New York City hospitals have 71% of the beds occupied, but because of the rise in COVID cases, there is concern that they may reach capacity. This means that if you need to get a loved one to hospital in an emergency, you should either call an ambulance or phone ahead to find out where you can get them admitted. Don’t rely on traveling directly to the hospital as it may not be able to help you without a lengthy wait. Where necessary, patients will be subject to triage, meaning that those who need simple interventions to prevent serious harm will be treated first. Staff will focus on saving as many patients as possible and you can help by listening carefully and following the advice they give you.
If you live in one of the select cities, you can actually get a COVID test done right at home by urgent care provider Ready Responders. Ready sends a medical professional to your location, same-day, in most cases and administers a COVID Test. Ready also provides general urgent care services at-home in New York City, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Shreveport, Houma, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Reno, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.
Urgent care online
Some providers have responded to the pandemic by moving all or most of their services online. If you are dealing with a sexual health emergency or problems related to a pregnancy, Planned Parenthood can give you an online appointment any day except for Christmas Day itself and arrange any urgent follow-up care that you need. Vibrant Emotional Health offers online services for a range of mental health problems and addiction issues and is also the place to turn if you are worried that a loved one is becoming suicidal – a concern that is becoming more widespread as a result of isolation.
When you visit a clinic or hospital
If you are visiting a clinic or hospital over the next few weeks, it’s important to respect infection control protocols. That means that masks should be worn at all times except in cases where there is a medical exemption. Wash your hands before you go and use the sanitizer provided when you arrive. Before you are admitted to the premises, staff may want to ask some quick health questions and take your temperature. If you are looking after a loved one who is still able to move around without your help, you may be asked to wait outside. The pressure on medical staff means that waiting times are longer than usual, so wrap up warm.
Governor Cuomo has said that he expects the next few weeks to be difficult but that everybody can help by taking precautions against COVID-19. Try to avoid situations that increase the risk of accidents and if, despite your best efforts, you do need to seek help, remember to thank the brave workers who are giving up their own festive break to look after us all.