Visitor Policy & Service Updates

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

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).

We are happy to welcome visitors to Montefiore and we appreciate your patience, understanding and cooperation.

More details on our increased Visitation Program Guidelines »

Dr. Alia Hasham, Director of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program and Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology at Montefiore-Einstein, discusses colorectal cancer symptoms, risk, and screening options available during COVID-19.

Why is it important to get screened for colorectal cancer? Dr. Alia Hasham, Director of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program and Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology at Montefiore-Einstein, discusses colorectal cancer symptoms, how to reduce your risk, the different types of COVID-SAFE screening options available and what to know about screenings during the COVID-19 era.

Transcript

STAY STRONG

- Is Colorectal cancer screening recommended during the COVID-19 era?

- Colorectal cancer is one of the more preventable cancers therefore screening is essential and should not be delayed. Importantly, some may not demonstrate any signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer which is why screening is so important. Our healthcare team at Montefiore cares about every patient's safety and comfort and should know that careful steps and precautions are being taken to ensure a safe and comfortable environment when they have their colonoscopy such as designated patient treatment areas, rigorous cleaning and use of masks. Patients should talk to their healthcare providers to discuss the different screening options available to them. While there are specific recommendations to start screening based on age and/or family history of colorectal cancer even without any symptoms, if anyone is having signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer including blood in the stools, change in their bowel habits, abdominal pain, weight loss or anemia in their blood work, they should talk to their healthcare provider to make sure they have the appropriate testing done.

- Why is it important to be screened for colorectal cancer?

- Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in men and women combined. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable and curable if detected early. Getting screened for colorectal cancer allows for the detection and removal of precancerous growths or polyps on the inner lining of the colon or rectum before they can develop into cancer. Screening will also help detect pre-cancer and cancerous polyps that may be at an earlier stage therefore improving the chances of successful treatment. Therefore, early detection is key. The risk for colorectal cancer appears to increase after the age of 50. However, amongst those aged 50 to 75 years, approximately one in three adults still have never been screened. What is concerning is that more recent studies are showing that colorectal cancer is being diagnosed in those younger than age 50 at a rate of approximately one to 2% per year. While the exact reasons for the rise in early onset colorectal cancer are unclear, diet, sedentary lifestyle, positive family history and/or lack of awareness of the symptoms for colorectal cancer may be contributing factors.

- What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

- Some patients especially with pre-cancerous polyps or in the earlier stages of colorectal cancer may not have any signs or symptoms which is why screening is important even if you are feeling well. However, if you have any of the following signs or symptoms, you should inform your doctor to discuss further testing. These include change in bowel habits, blood in the stools, abdominal pain and/or unexplained weight loss.

- What age is screening recommended and what are the screening options for colorectal cancer?

- The goal of screening is to detect precancerous polyps and prevent colorectal cancer. Most expert groups recommend starting to screen at the age of 50. However, some including the American Cancer Society recommend beginning at age 45 considering the rise in early onset colorectal cancer cases. Due to higher rates of colorectal cancer in certain ethnic groups, experts also recommend that African Americans begin screening at age 45. However, if you have any symptoms or a positive family history of colorectal cancer, you should discuss this with your doctor as you may need to be screened at a younger age. There are multiple ways to be screened for colorectal cancer including visual based testing such as a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy which uses a thin flexible tube to examine your colon and rectum. This procedure will also allow for the removal of polyps if they are found. Virtual or CT colonography is another alternative that uses x-ray images to examine your colon and rectum and also look for polyps. Stool based testing is another option that can be done in the comfort of your own home which looks for occult or hidden blood in your stool sample. Colonoscopy is the preferred test. However, it is important to be aware of the different options available to you. Your doctor may recommend a certain test be done based on your overall health and your preference. If you do have a test other than a colonoscopy such as a stool test and have an abnormal or positive result, this should be followed by a colonoscopy.

- What are some tips that may help reduce your risk from colorectal cancer?

- There are some healthy habits that may help lower your risk of colorectal cancer. These include maintaining a healthy body weight, increasing your physical activity such as trying to limit the amount of time sitting or lying down and depending on your physical health, taking the stairs and incorporating more walking into your day. You could also try to increase your intake of dietary fiber including fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Also, reducing your intake of red meat and processed meats. These include beef, lamb and luncheon meats such as pre-packaged lunch meats including ham or turkey. You should also try to stop smoking and avoid or limit your intake of alcoholic beverages. If you do consume alcohol, try to limit it to one to two drinks per day. You should also speak to your family and find out if there's anyone with colon polyps or colorectal cancer as this may place you at an increased risk.

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Dr. Seth Congdon, Co-Director of the COVID-19 Recovery Clinic at Montefiore-Einstein, discusses what is long-haul COVID, symptoms of the disease, available treatment options, the recovery process and what Montefiore-Einstein's CORE Clinic is doing to help.

What is long-haul COVID and how does it impact the body? Dr. Seth Congdon, Co-Director of the COVID-19 Recovery Clinic at Montefiore-Einstein, discusses symptoms of the disease, available treatment options, the recovery process and what Montefiore-Einstein's CORE Clinic is doing to help.

Transcript

STAY STRONG

– Long Haulers and COVID-19

– What is a COVID-19 long hauler?

- A COVID-19 long hauler is someone that had COVID-19 and then either continues to experience symptoms or develops new symptoms that last for four weeks or longer and are not fully explained by some other medical condition.

– Who is vulnerable to becoming a long hauler?

– Anyone who gets COVID-19 is vulnerable to becoming a long hauler. It's been seen in people that were hospitalized and people that were not hospitalized, people who had life-threatening COVID pneumonia, and others who had relatively mild acute cases. It's unclear at this time what the risk factors are for developing long COVID, but based on surveys and other population-based research, roughly 10% of people who get COVID go on to have prolonged symptoms.

– What are long haulers' symptoms?

– There are many possible long hauler symptoms. Some of the most common are fatigue, shortness of breath, decreased exercise tolerance, and trouble with memory or concentration, which is commonly called brain fog. There are people whose sense of smell and taste has never returned to normal or took a long time to return to normal. Long COVID can essentially affect any part of the body. There has been issues with digestion, nausea, stomach pain, chest pain, heart palpitations, headaches, trouble sleeping, muscle and joint pains. The list unfortunately goes on.

– What is the recovery process for long haulers?

– The recovery process for long haulers is also quite variable. Some only take a few weeks or months to recover, while others have been experiencing symptoms for over one year at this point. It's important that people with long haul COVID work with medical providers that are empathetic, that validate long haul COVID is real, that acknowledge we're still learning about it, but pledge to work with you and other medical specialists on your treatment and recovery.

– What is the treatment for long haulers?

– The treatment for long haulers is different depending on what your symptoms are, but in general, it's helpful to track your symptoms with a symptom diary to try and figure out what could be contributing to them, what things seem to make them worse or better. In addition, many people benefit from doing physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive therapy.

– Why is mental health care important for long haulers?

– Mental health care is very important for long haul patients. The mind-body connection is real and the psychological distress of having these prolonged symptoms that are not well understood can be significant. It's important that people understand that depression or anxiety is not the cause of their symptom, the only thing going on, but they can have very real effects on the body and make recovery more difficult. Taking the time to improve your mental health is an important part of recovery. This can mean working with a therapist and/or a psychiatrist, practicing meditation or other mindfulness strategies, and engaging in long haul COVID support groups.

– Can long haulers get the vaccine?

– Long haulers can and should get the vaccine. Vaccination is proven to reduce risk of reinfection and severe disease if you do get reinfected. While there is not clear evidence at this time that vaccination improves long hauler symptoms, there is evidence that people who are vaccinated and then get COVID-19 have a lower risk of becoming a long hauler.

– Is there any way to reduce the chance of getting long COVID?

– The way to reduce the chance of getting long COVID is to prevent getting COVID in the first place. The most important way to do this is to get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe and effective. And there is also evidence now that people that are vaccinated, but unfortunately still get a breakthrough COVID infection, have a lower risk of developing long hauler symptoms.

– How is Montefiore-Einstein's CORE Clinic helping long haulers?

– Montefiore-Einstein's COVID recovery or CORE clinic is helping long haulers by evaluating their symptoms, explaining the current understanding of what could be causing them, referring to medical specialists as appropriate, and making recommendations to the patients and their primary care doctors on the best way to try and diagnose, manage, and treat their symptoms as we all work together towards their recovery.

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Monoclonal Antibody Therapy at Montefiore

If you are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, you may qualify for either monoclonal antibody treatment (if you recently developed symptoms and tested positive), or prophylaxis (if you do not have COVID-19 but are moderate-to-severely immunocompromised).

Learn more

COVID-19 Symptoms

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:

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Cover Coughs

Cough

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Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


Or at least two of the symptoms below:

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Fever

Fever

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Chills

Chills

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Repeated shaking with chills

Repeated shaking with chills

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Muscle Pain

Muscle pain

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Headache

Headache

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Sore Throat

Sore throat

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New loss of taste or smell

New loss of taste or smell

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Diarrhea

Diarrhea


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

Care doesn’t stop

To ensure the safety of all our patients, we’ve implemented rigorous COVID-SAFE Care protocols, tailored to each setting.

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Covid-safe Care

Your Gratitude Keeps Us Going

The current outpouring of appreciation for New York's healthcare workers has been truly humbling. Our community's grace and optimism in the face of hardship inspires us every day. To all those who have cheered and honored our heroes, and to the many who are giving to support our COVID-19 efforts, Montefiore-Einstein would like to thank you. To those who would like to show their support, here's how.

How does COVID-19 spread?

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.

Protect Yourself
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Wash Hands
Wash hands frequently with soap
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Avoid Touching eyes and mouth
Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth
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Seek Care
Seek care if you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath
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Avoid Close Contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
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Distance
Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet
Protect Others
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Stay Home
Stay home if you’re unwell
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Cover coughs and sneezes
Cover coughs and sneezes
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Clean and disinfect surfaces
Clean and disinfect surfaces
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Mask
Use a face covering when leaving the home for essentials
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Distance
Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet

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