Coronavirus: Peconic Landing Employee Tests Positive; East End Senior Services Circle the Wagons

Updated March 12, 7 a.m.

An employee of the Southold Fish Market has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the market announced on Facebook Wednesday evening. “As a precaution, we have sanitized the entire establishment and will close tomorrow so the Board of Health can be notified and a protocol be established. Thank you for your understanding.”

The Sag Harbor School District announced it is closing through March 22 “as a precaution.” According to a letter from the district to families, “faculty and staff will report to school Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13. During these two days, they will further develop learning opportunities for students to access while school is not in session.”

The Greenport School District is also closing today and tomorrow “out of an abundance of caution…[to] allow the District to complete a deep, thorough cleaning of the building. We will remain in constant contact with the Suffolk County Department of Health.”

Updated March 11, 1:15 p.m.

As public concern over their exposure to the new coronavirus grows, Northwell Health’s GoHealth Urgent Care Centers, which has locations in Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays and Riverhead, announced late Tuesday that “manual testing for coronavirus, available now in all of our centers, allows 75-100 tests to be processed daily. Given the still limited testing capacity at this time, we are reserving the COVID-19 test for patients who are at the highest risk. Once the lab automates the process, it will have the capability to process hundreds and eventually thousands of tests daily.”

“If you have any symptoms and would like to inquire about testing, please visit any of our centers by saving your spot online or just walking in,” they added. “Our providers will consult with you on your situation and provide guidance, including testing if it is deemed appropriate. We ask that if you are experiencing a fever with a cough or trouble breathing, please wear a mask and tell our center staff immediately when coming in.”

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, where the emergency room has reportedly been overrun in recent days by people concerned they may have the coronavirus, reminded the public Wednesday afternoon that “patients may test positive for COVID-19 but not require hospitalization.”

“In anticipation of an increased volume of patients seeking care, we are moving forward with plans to create a forward triage area in Parrish Memorial Hall and identifying surge areas in the hospital,” the hospital added in a statement.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone echoed Governor Andrew Cuomo Wednesday morning when he said that “no one should have an expectation they can just walk into a doctor’s office and get tested” as of today, adding that a doctor must deem the test medically necessary based on the patients symptoms and contact history. “When that changes, we will provide that guidance.”

Updated March 11 10:30 a.m.

There are now six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Suffolk County, County Executive Steve Bellone said at a Wednesday morning press conference.

Mr. Bellone said that, in addition to the original patient who is in isolation recovering at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, a woman in her mid-20s from Southold who is in home isolation has tested positive.

Two Brookhaven men in their 30s and one Brookhaven man in his 20s are in isolation at Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, and one man in his 80s is in isolation at St. Catherine of Sienna Medical Center in Smithtown, he said, adding that all of the confirmed cases were due to community spread, not from travel.

He added that the two cases in Southold Town were connected.

Mr. Bellone said “eight individuals are under mandatory quarantine” at home, including one of the six confirmed cases — the other five are hospitalized.

He added that 72 people in the county who recently traveled abroad are under precautionary quarantine, and that all of those people are asymptomatic and being quarantined as a precautionary measure.

Mr. Bellone added that, as of Monday, he knew of 12 test results for county residents that were pending, but since private labs including Labcore and Northwell labs have begun testing, there could be other people who have been tested that the county hasn’t accounted for.

Updated March 11, 8 a.m.

Peconic Landing was notified late Monday by the Suffolk County Department of Health that one of their per-diem employees has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a release issued late Monday.

“We are in constant contact with the Suffolk County Department of Health and following their direction.  The information we have been given is that this employee worked for Peconic Landing for four hours after unknowingly being exposed to the virus in the greater community.  Due to HIPAA regulations we are unable to provide specific information about the employee.

Pending further guidance from the Suffolk County Department of Health, Peconic Landing has taken the precautionary step of placing employees that have been identified to have worked in close proximity with this employee on leave.  We offer every assurance to our members, members’ families and employees that Peconic Landing will be following all recommendations and will act in the best interests of our entire community.  

Peconic Landing notified members of the situation this evening. Due to the timing of the notification by the Suffolk County Department of Health, family members will be notified tomorrow.  

The Southold Human Resource Center in Mattituck has suspended in-house senior meals but is offering curbside pickup.
The Southold Human Resource Center in Mattituck has suspended in-house senior meals but is offering curbside pickup.

Original Story Follows:

As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control urged seniors Monday to avoid crowds, cruises and long airplane rides to reduce their risk of exposure to the deadly new coronavirus — which is especially dangerous for seniors and people with compromised immune systems — the first case on the East End announced Sunday has prompted organizations that serve seniors here to make radical changes to their operations.

Only one case of coronavirus had been reported in Suffolk County as of Tuesday morning, a man in his early 40s who is recovering at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital after seeking care at Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport.

“The patient continues to be cared for at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and is in fair condition,” according to a statement issued by the hospital Tuesday. “According to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Chief Medical Officer, Fredric Weinbaum, M.D., the patient is improving with good prospects for further recovery. At this time, the patient is requesting privacy.”

The Peconic Landing retirement community in Greenport announced Monday that “for the safety of our members, we are limiting non-essential visitors to our campus until further notice.”

Peconic Landing added that it is “required by the Department of Health to maintain a comprehensive infectious disease control program that includes the prevention and management of pandemic outbreaks.”

“While we aren’t able to entirely halt all traffic to Peconic Landing, we are asking family and friends to please limit their visitation to Peconic Landing at this time,” according to a statement from Peconic Landing Tuesday afternoon. “We are doing this as a precaution to our members and have enforced a screening process for those who come on campus. Anyone who would like detailed answers to their questions, please call 631.477.3800.”

The San Simeon by the Sound Center for Nursing, Rehabilitation & Adult Cay Health Care announced Tuesday it has suspended visitors from entering San Simeon “due to the recent community exposure to coronavirus, in Greenport, and in an effort to ensure the health and safety of our residents,” and is asking anyone with concerns to call them at 631.477.2110 for more information.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell announced Monday morning that the town is suspending its congregate meals program on weekdays at its Human Resource Center in Mattituck “out of an abundance of caution, but meals for the homebound will still be offered.”

“Seniors over the age of 60 who are mobile but want to limit their own risk of exposure are invited to call the Human Resource Center at 631.298.4460 for meals that will be served curbside,” he added. “The public should be assured that the Town of Southold is working closely with other governmental agencies, law enforcement, and representatives from agencies charged with public safety to address the threat posed by the coronavirus.”

The Town of East Hampton announced Tuesday morning it has temporarily suspended programs for senior citizens at the East Hampton Town Senior Center and at the Montauk Playhouse, as well as other group activities for seniors, out of an abundance of caution as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads.

According to East Hampton’s announcement, “As the virus poses greatest risk to the elderly as well as those with underlying health conditions or suppressed immune systems, town-sponsored group activities offered to senior citizens will be canceled as of Wednesday, March 11, 2020. The senior center on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton will be closed until further notice.”

“Town Human Services staff will be in contact with clients of the adult day care and nutrition programs and alternate measures will be taken to meet their needs, such as providing frozen take-out meals at home in lieu of having senior citizens gather together at the center. Those in need of transportation services for doctors’ visits or with other needs may call the Human Services Department at 631.329.6939.”

Riverhead Town announced Monday that “staff members at our Senior Center are working to limit the threat of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are continually disinfecting surfaces including tables, chairs, door knobs and handrails throughout the facility and its related fleet of vehicles. Currently, all senior services, including Meals on Wheels delivery, are operating on a normal schedule. Senior Center staff are in close communication with the Suffolk County Office of the Aging and will communicate any disruption to regularly scheduled services without delay.”

Peconic Bay Medical Center also announced Tuesday that it will be cancelling several upcoming events due to the threat from coronavirus. According to an email from the hospital Tuesday, “currently, the expectation is that we will continue to see an increase in the coronavirus in our region, and accordingly, we are ready to ensure the appropriate level of preparedness. To ensure that we have the right teams in place throughout this crisis, we are taking a close look at community events that require the support and presence of our team members…. Note that this period of time may be adjusted further as the situation develops. The health of our patients, volunteers, staff and community is of the upmost importance to us.”

We will update this post throughout this crisis with more details as they become available.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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