Pictured Above: Staff Members at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead prepared to receive Covid-19 patients. (Photo courtesy PBMC)

As East End hospitals brace for an influx of new patients suffering from the coronavirus in the coming weeks, they’re reaching out to let members of the community know what they can do to help.

Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead is accepting donations of surgical masks, goggles and N95 masks, which can be donated at the front door of the hospital at 1300 Roanoke Avenue. This includes construction-grade masks, where were recently approved by the CDC for use during this crisis.

“It is impossible to predict what lies ahead. Our medical teams have been working around the clock to prepare for the influx of expected COVID-19 patients as well as those now in our care,” said PBMC CEO Andrew Mitchell and Deputy Executive Director Amy Loeb in a March 27 email to hospital supporters. “We have created an aggressive plan of action, added needed equipment, increased the number of available beds, and implemented procedures to protect our staff, as well as incoming patients.”

“As we anticipate this influx of patients, we want to prepare our brave first responders with what’s needed to keep them safe,” they added. “We wouldn’t send our soldiers into battle without adequate equipment. We must do the same for our health care workers. They deserve our gratitude for answering the call to serve all of us.”

The hospital, which has created a separate, 16-bed Covid-19 wing in the shell of its new Corey Critical Care Pavillion and leased out the Mercy High School property behind its campus, has set up a Covid-19 Response Fund to accept cash donations to purchase protective equipment for staff and ventilators for patients, make capital improvements to the hospital, and “provide direct assistance and care for our staff, who are on the front lines of this pandemic,” according to the letter.

They’re accepting donations online here.

PBMC is also asking retired health care providers who are able to help to contact their human resources department at 631.548.6340.

Restaurants throughout the East End, which have closed their doors to diners due to the state’s closure of non-essential businesses, have gotten into gear setting up meal deliveries to local hospitals, in addition to upping their take-out business for the general public.

Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport has set up a Meal Train website to help volunteers coordinate bringing food to health care workers. Peconic Bay Medical Center has also set up a Meal Train website.

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital has joined the other East End hospitals in accepting food donations for its workers, but the hospital is asking donors to contact Shannon.Cressy@stonybrookmedicine.edu before delivering food to ensure they follow safe food handling guidelines.

Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport has opened up a Covid-19 unit with dedicated staff to house patients who have tested positive or are under investigation for Covid-19.

Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital’s Community Relations Department is also hosting a donation drive, accepting personal protective equipment, which will be given to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital. include face shields, N95 3M 1860 masks, protective eyewear, goggles, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and other supplies required for staff safety.

If members of the community have medical supplies that are in unopened boxes, or comfort care items to donate, they should contact Foundation Vice President Linda Sweeney Vice at 631.477.5164 or 631.477.5100 so a drop off time and location can be arranged and donations be put into the right hands quickly. Scheduled appointments are recommended.

“Throughout the hospital’s history, our community never wavered in their commitment to sustain our day-to-day operations,” said Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital CAO Paul Connor. “There is no better example of this dedication than the added extra willingness that our local businesses and residents have shown with their unwavering support.”

Eric Abott, NA and Nancy Naughton, RN greeting patients at the Triage entrance to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Emergency Department. (photo courtesy SBSH)

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital has converted its Parrish Memorial Hall to serve overflow from the Emergency Department.

“In the event of a surge, we are working to significantly increase our capacity for overflow beds, both ICU and medical-surgical, and are reviewing equipment and staffing that may be required. We have enlisted our medical residents and have other healthcare workers and staff standing-by, ready to deploy,” according to the hospital.

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is asking any prospective donors to email Steven Bernstein at steven.bernstein@stonybrookmedicine.edu “so he can best direct your donation.”

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is also accepting digital photographs of children’s artwork to brighten up the hospital via email at sbsh_info@stonybrookmedicine.edu through March 27. They’re asking parents to sign the front of the work with the child’s first name and age, to be shared in an in-house and social media “exhibition” titled “My Happy Place on the East End.”

Peconic Bay Medical Center is also asking the community to send artwork (no larger than 8.5×14) for patients who can’t receive visitors, and for staff members who need their day brightened.

Artwork can be mailed to Peconic Bay Medical Center, Healthcare Heroes, 1300 Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead, NY 11901 or dropped at the front entrance of the Medical Center with security.

Stony Brook University Hospital, the hospital network’s main campus in Stony Brook, is “accepting items that will help comfort our patients and enhance their experience while they are missing their loved ones and the comforts of home. These include puzzles, activity books, pens, colored pencils, sleep masks, aromatherapy, ear plugs and other quality of life items to make those hospitalized, as well as those caring for them, feel as at ease as possible.”

Stony Brook is also continuing to accept donations of iPads for telehealth, medical supplies and other comfort care items such as gum, lip balm, tissues and snacks.  

To schedule a donation, contact Stony Brook University Community Relations Director Joan Dickinson at COVID19donations@stonybrook.edu or call 631.219.0603 to schedule an appointment.

The New York Blood Center, which is responsible for most of the blood drives held by local fire departments and community groups on the East End, is also in dire need of blood. Firehouses have closed their doors to the public during the pandemic to avoid exposure for first responders, interrupting 75 percent of its incoming blood supply, but the center has expanded hours at its locations in Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma. Here’s more information on how to give blood now.

Suffolk County is also accepting donations of personal protective equipment for first responders, including masks, gloves and hospital gowns at the Suffolk County Fire Academy at 103 East Avenue in Yaphank Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she 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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