“We have a common enemy and we will defeat it”
Alex Hellinger, Executive Director, Lenox Health Greenwich Village
(A division of Northwell Health)
By Deborah Rizzi
with Alex Hellinger
According to Alex Hellinger, the battle is being fought by health care professionals—with support and TLC provided by local businesses, schools and Greenwich Village residents. “The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 and the resulting change that has taken place to most of our lives is unlike anything many of us have ever experienced,” he said. “While this is devastating in many ways, it has also brought us together as a community and a country. We have a common enemy and we will defeat it.”
“Many individuals and businesses in Greenwich Village have reached out to Lenox Health Greenwich Village to ask if they can help,” Hellinger continued. “We are truly humbled by this outpouring of generosity” Here are just few examples of this kindness:
- The New School and others have donated PPE.
- The West Side Market and others have donated food, coffee and snacks.
He noted another heart-warming show of support by residents who painted colorful messages in front of the Emergency Room to help uplift the spirits of the staff:
- We love you
- Our heroes
- NYC loves you
“This simple gesture of kindness during a challenging time means so much to everyone that is working on the front lines. Our incredible LHGV team members were coming out to read this message and then going back in to treat patients with smiles on their faces, even though their smiles were covered by PPE,” Hellinger said.
“During times of crisis, you often see the very best in people, and we are certainly seeing that here. Our LHGV family, who come in every day to make sure our patients receive the very best care, are dedicated, compassionate and mission-driven. And the community that we serve has shown incredible generosity and gratitude. We are united and we are all standing in solidarity to beat COVID-19 together.”
Since January, Northwell has purchased more than $5 million of lab equipment, supplies, masks, gloves, goggles, gowns and other personal protective equipment. It has been able to increase ventilators in its network by 50%. While they currently have an adequate supply of ventilators and other items, they continue to order more to prepare for a surge.
There are 31 hospital beds in Lenox Health Greenwich Village that have been prepared to assist other hospitals as needed during this COVID-19 crisis. This particular unit will not be for critically ill patients. Northwell and its hospitals have plans in place to handle a surge in patient volume. This includes a sophisticated emergency response plan in place that has effectively managed previous infectious disease outbreaks, including the Anthrax response in 2001, SARS in 2003, swine flu in 2009 and Ebola in 2014.
Northwell Health has worked work with Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health to establish and support satellite centers for testing people for COVID-19. They applaud Governor Cuomo and the state for their leadership in addressing this public health crisis, especially in hard-hit areas like Westchester County. They continue to work closely with federal, state and local health officials, and refine protocols as the situation evolves.
In accordance with the New York State Department of Health, visitation is temporarily suspended. The safety of patients, staff and visitors is of paramount importance. Strong clinical and operational protocols have been implemented that are designed to quickly identify potential COVID-19 patients as they enter facilities, isolate them appropriately and prevent transmission of infections.
The emergency operations center is staffed 24/7. Northwell is in constant contact with all hospitals and other Northwell facilities. Operating in this heightened state of readiness allows quick mobilization of system-wide resources if the need arises. Testing and Trials
The Northwell Lab is able to process approximately 2,000 COVID-19 tests daily. Even as testing capacity increases, people are screened judiciously to focus on those most at risk for severe COVID-19 infection and who require more-immediate and intensive medical attention.
On March 20, Northwell’s research arm —the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research—began enrolling COVID-19 patients in clinical trials via a collaboration with biopharmaceutical companies Gilead Sciences, Regeneron and Sanofi.
For all of the most updated information on the Coronavirus please visit the Corona Virus Digital Resource Center at: https://www.northwell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19
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