COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the important questions on the minds of people in our community. If you do not find the information you need here, please call the Montefiore-Einstein COVID-19 Hotline at 1-844-444-CV19 (888-444-2819) to learn more.

Our hospitals, emergency departments and ambulatory sites are open to serve the community.

As of June 8, Montefiore has approval from the New York State Department of Health to resume the scheduling of elective surgeries and procedures at its Bronx campuses. All our facilities are clean, safe and ready for you to get the care you need. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor’s office.
If you need help finding a doctor, call 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683).

Our doctors are also offering virtual visits via either the phone or video, what is known as telehealth. Learn more about doctor video visits by clicking here.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is highly contagious and can spread from person to person. It is caused by the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, which is a “novel” virus, meaning it has never been seen in humans before this outbreak. It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The virus can spread from person to person, which means you can contract the virus if you come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You may also be at risk if you live or come into close contact with someone known to have traveled to areas of ongoing spread, including international locations (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran) or places here in the U.S. such as Washington, New York City and San Francisco.

The virus is thought to spread by people in close contact (approximately within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible to contract the virus by touching an infected surface or item and then touching the nose, eyes or mouth. The virus may be able to live on a surface for a prolonged period of time.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Individuals experiencing these symptoms or combination of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the symptoms below: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat 
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea

This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Some patients develop pneumonia in both lungs, experience multi-organ failure and, in some cases, even die from other complications. Many of the individuals with the most severe complications have a compromised immune system from other underlying medical conditions or are considered part of a vulnerable population due to age.

  • Unless you are an essential worker, stay at home.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Impose social distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet, and avoid all physical contact with others when outside your home.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm or cool water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Hand sanitizer should be used only if you do not have access to soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and/or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Use a face covering, such as a scarf or bandana, if you need to go out for essentials. Do NOT use a professional surgical mask; these are in short supply and needed by our first responders and healthcare workers to protect themselves while in very close contact with infected people.

Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming into contact with healthy people in order to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. It can include large-scale measures like canceling group events or the closure of public spaces, as well as individual decisions such as avoiding crowds.

  • Stay at home when you’re sick and isolate yourself. If you live with others, try to stay in a separate room and wear a mask.
  • Always cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces you touch while you’re sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

If you have traveled or encountered someone who has traveled to an affected area, please limit your movements or interactions with others for the next two weeks. If you begin to develop severe symptoms during this timeframe (i.e., trouble breathing), please seek medical advice. Call your provider’s office and inform them regarding your symptoms and travel. They will let you know how to get care without exposing others to the virus.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to take everyday precautions and avoid close contact with others to prevent the spread of the virus.

There is no antiviral medication to treat COVID-19. You must seek medical advice if you contract the virus and have symptoms. Avoid people who are sick, and wash your hands as frequently as possible. Clean and disinfect all surfaces you touch while you’re sick.

If you are not sick, and you are not working in a healthcare setting, you should use a face covering, such as a scarf or bandana, if you need to go out for essentials, but not a surgical mask; these are in short supply and needed by our first responders and healthcare workers to protect themselves while in very close contact with infected people.

If you do have symptoms like coughing or sneezing, you should wear a mask to prevent spreading the illness to others.

If you are caring for a patient with COVID-19, you should wear a mask while in close contact with that person.

Testing is limited at this time. This is a new virus, so a new test had to be developed, and testing kits are not as widely available as we’d like. If a doctor determines that a test for COVID-19 is needed, it will be sent to a laboratory that is able to perform testing for COVID-19.

Remember, a test is not a treatment or a cure. If you have symptoms, stay home and maintain your distance from others. Double-down on hand washing and cleaning surfaces you frequently touch. Workers in essential businesses who have symptoms may be required to stay home for a week or two and self-isolate, but not necessarily tested at this time.

Developed for screening of COVID-19 using precautionary measures to prevent community spread, mobile testing sites allow patients to be tested while remaining in their vehicles. These sites are available for testing by appointment only for patients with a positive screening and a high risk of severe disease.

  • Stay at home except to get urgent medical care. Avoid using public transportation to contain the spread of the virus.
  • Isolate yourself to a specific room in your home to protect your family members, and use a separate bathroom if possible.
  • You must call ahead before visiting your provider’s office or another healthcare facility like an urgent care office. They will inform you on how to get medical care while still ensuring the safety of other patients.
  • All patients may have one visitor at a time during the increased visitation hours of 2pm–6pm daily. The only visitors allowed during other times are those qualifying for exceptions: pediatrics, labor and delivery, palliative care, geriatrics, patients being discharged and those with cognitive or developmental impairments.
  • Visitors must be over 18 years of age. Patients may have two designated support persons who can alternate.
  • Visitors will be asked to speak to a unit staff member before entering a patient room and to follow all staff instructions.
  • Patients who are scheduled for ambulatory procedures may each have one support person assist them.
  • Visitors will be screened in the lobby for temperature, symptoms and exposure and asked to leave if they display symptoms.
  • Visitors for oncology and transplant patients and the NICU must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test, which must be updated every seven days.
  • Visitors must wear a face mask upon entry to the lobby and throughout their time in the hospital. If visiting a patient that is COVID+, the visitor must also wear a gown, gloves and eye protection while in the room with the patient.
  • Visitors must remain in the patient’s room.
  • Visitors must practice rigorous hand hygiene.
  • Visitors who do not adhere to the above guidelines will be asked to leave.

Our hospitals, emergency departments and ambulatory sites are open to serve the community.

As of June 8, Montefiore has approval from the New York State Department of Health to resume the scheduling of elective surgeries and procedures at its Bronx campuses. All our facilities are clean, safe and ready for you to get the care you need. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor’s office.
If you need help finding a doctor, call 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683).

Our doctors are also offering virtual visits via either the phone or video, what is known as telehealth. Learn more about doctor video visits by clicking here.

  • Wear a face mask whenever you’re around your family members. If you are unable to wear a face mask because it causes trouble breathing, ask your family members to wear face masks whenever they are around you.
  • Cover your coughs or sneezes and wash your hands with soap and water immediately. You should also sanitize any surfaces you may have touched with a disinfectant that contains 60–95% alcohol.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer only when soap and water are not available.
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces every day, including tables, countertops, doorknobs, bath fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.
  • Make sure to clean any surfaces that may come into contact with blood, stool or bodily fluids. These surfaces should be cleaned with household disinfectants. Make sure to follow labeled instructions on how to properly and safely use these products.

Seek medical attention if your condition is worsening (i.e., if you have difficulty breathing). Before seeking medical care, be sure to call your healthcare provider and tell them you are being evaluated for COVID-19. Make sure to wear a face mask before you enter the facility. Ask your healthcare provider to contact your local or state health department. People placed under active monitoring or self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by your local health department.

If you have a medical emergency, you must call 911 and inform the dispatcher that you are being evaluated for COVID-19.

If you have contracted COVID-19, you should remain under home isolation until the transmission to others is low. The decision to discontinue home isolation should be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with your healthcare provider. In general, you should remain at home until at least 7 days after your symptoms started, your symptoms are improving, and you have not had a fever for 3 days without using fever-reducing medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.).

COVID-19: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Fever, sore throat, shortness of breath? Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist at Montefiore explains.

COVID-19 Symptoms
Transcript

Theresa Madaline, MD:

The symptoms range broadly. Some people have very mild or minimal symptoms and other people have more severe disease. Here in New York at Montefiore over the last few weeks, we treated a lot of patients with COVID-19. And our patients tell us that in the beginning their symptoms are sometimes vague, so things like feeling very tired, having muscle aches. Some people report losing their sense of taste and smell, and others report a sore throat early on in their illness.

As things progress, some people will get a fever or a cough. A lot of people feel short of breath and some people actually get a stomach upset partway through their illness. For those people who are going to have a more severe course, that tends to happen around the one week mark. And so I do recommend that for those who think they have COVID-19 or know that they have COVID-19 to pay extra attention to your symptoms around that time. And if you have any concerns, then you should contact your healthcare provider to make sure that you don't need to go to a hospital.

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Trusted Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The leading national public health institute of the United States
 

NY.gov

For the latest COVID-19 guidelines and information from New York State 

World Health Organization

UN agency responsible for international public health