COVID remains utmost in most of our minds—and with good reason—but it can’t be the only health concern we care about. Flu vaccines and regular medical procedures, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and more, should not be ignored.
When COVID was at its peak in our area during the spring months, you’d have thought that heart attacks stopped and almost no one was diagnosed with cancer.
“Early on, it made you wonder what happened to all those problems you’d see people for regularly,” said Dr. Lev Davidson, Medical Director, Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital.
“Those problems,” however, didn’t disappear. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 10,000 additional deaths from cancer will most likely be due to delayed screening. And screening, as Dr. Davidson stresses, saves lives—without it, you might be closing the window on any cure possibility.
That's why Northern Westchester Hospital has worked hard to provide a safe environment for its patients and staff. “I’m somewhat biased,” said Dr. Davidson, “but I personally feel safer coming to our facilities than going to the store.”
Why is that the case? Because Northern Westchester has taken seven key precautions:
1) Thermal cameras check body temperatures of all entering the facility.
2) Anyone coming to the hospital for an appointment or procedure is pre-screened via telephone.
3) Anyone coming in for a procedure is tested for COVID.
4) Social distancing and masks remain the norm.
5) Foot traffic has been reduced to only those who absolutely need to be there.
6) Visits are timed to minimize interactions.
7) All Northwell Health facilities are thoroughly and regularly cleaned and disinfected.
“We have learned so much since the first time around,” said Dr. Marla Koroly, Chief Medical Officer, Northern Westchester Hospital and Assoc. Ambulatory Physician Exec, Westchester Region, Northwell Health. “We are hopeful that we can continue to maintain operations and keep our surgical programs and others open.”
COVID testing, both antibody and PCR (the nasal swab for live cases) continue at Northwell’s Center for Healthy Living in Chappaqua. But remember, while no appointment is necessary, a doctor’s order or prescription to be tested is.
And absolutely do not forget your flu shot, urges Dr. Koroly. “Keep yourself safe,” she said. COVID and flu symptoms can seem interchangeable, but thanks to a new respiratory viral panel test now routinely offered at Northern Westchester Hospital (via a nasal swab), doctors will know after one test if it’s COVID, flu, pneumonia, or another respiratory illness.
Find out more about how Northern Westchester Hospital is handling COVID and non-COVID-related routine hospital care by watching the video above. A Spanish language version of the update is available as well.