COVID-19 Update for NEW Health Patients
We want to thank you for the trust you have placed in our health system during this time. The COVID-19 outbreak has affected our lives in ways that we could not have imagined. While we are still living in times of uncertainty, we want you to know that we are here for you, ready to provide care for you and your family.
We are slowly expanding our services provided at our various health center locations. Our Safe Care Commitment: Screen – Clean – Protect is in effect in all locations to help keep our patients and staff safe.
Office availability and hours will vary, and the types of services available will depend on your circumstances. Video visits with your doctor or care team using your phone or computer may be an effective way to address your medical needs.
Please call your health care provider to determine the best option for you. Most importantly, do not put off necessary care. Taking care of your health is important.
Here are some helpful numbers to call for COVID-19 information:
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health can be reached 24/7 at 211
- COVID-19 Hotline is available 8am to 8pm each day at (617) 724-7000
- Boston Mayor’s Health Line Monday -Friday 9am to 5pm (617) 534-5050
We want to thank you in advance for putting your trust in NEW Health as you care for yourself and your family.
Safe Care Commitment: Screen – Clean – Protect
We SCREEN to protect you, your families and our staff:
- We screen all employees daily—anyone with symptoms of a possible respiratory illness is not allowed to return to work until they are better
- On arrival, we screen all patients and visitors for symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection
- Outpatients are screened prior to and upon arrival, and if symptomatic, are cared for via virtual visits.
- We limit visitors coming into the health center, and screen visitors for symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection. We ask visitors with symptoms to defer their visits
We CLEAN our hands and spaces, and make it easy for you to do the same:
- We have established cleaning protocols throughout the health center
- We have added hand sanitizer stations so patients, visitors and staff can clean their hands easily and frequently, and provided visual reminders to practice hand hygiene
We PROTECT everyone in our environment:
- We require all people —employees, patients and visitors—to wear a hospital-issued surgical mask
- We have rearranged spaces to accommodate physical distancing by removing chairs from waiting rooms and, in some areas, installing plexiglass barriers
Additional safety measures that we have implemented include:
- Developing and implementing infection control policies to care for patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19
- Requiring employees who are able to work remotely to do so
- Cancelling all business travel, domestic and international travel for staff
COVID-19 Testing at NEW Health
North End Testing:
Directly behind NEW Health at 332 Hanover St.; entrance on North Bennet St.
Tuesday and Thursday
8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Walk-up COVID-19 testing by appointment only
Open to all residents of the North End and NEW Health patients no symptoms necessary
15 Tufts St., Crossroads Resource Center in the Bunker Hill Housing Development
Monday through Friday
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Walk-up and Drive-thru COVID-19 testing by appointment only
Open to all residents of Charlestown and NEW Health patients no symptoms necessary
Located behind 15 Tufts Street in Crossroads
COVID-19 Vaccine Statement
Many patients are understandably anxious to get the new COVID vaccine as soon as possible. At present there is no vaccine available, no guidance on prioritizing vaccine distribution, and no “lists” of patients who want or feel they should get vaccine once we get it at NEWH. We are confident that when vaccine becomes available, there will be clear, transparent and public guidelines for an orderly distribution based on CDC and MGH planning. Patients will have full knowledge of the plan in the media and via information that will be available from your health care partners. Until then, please wait until more information is available, and be sure to get a flu shot this year.
Intravenous Antibody Treatment (eg Regeneron) Statement
The Mass General-Brigham (MGB) system does not have any of the state allocation of these treatments yet, and when they do, the amount will be extremely limited. Ongoing planning is underway at MGB about the distribution and use of these medications, that will be given as IV infusions at hospitals to outpatients with mild-moderate COVID-19 disease. When the treatments become available, there will be very public messaging from MGB, and the process ascertaining who can get it will be put forth. Until that time, we at NEWH have no other information and no role in the high level planning taking place. Patients interested in clinical trials of these agents can go on the MGB website and look for any open trials.
We are rescheduling some appointments to a later date and converting many appointments to virtual visits over the telephone or a video link. We will inform you if your appointment has been cancelled or changed to another date. Virtual phone visits will stay on the day they were previously scheduled. Thank you in advance for your understanding and support if such a change impacts you.
The pharmacy is still operating under slightly modified hours (see below). If you are experiencing fever/cough/muscle aches/sore throat/shortness of breath; or have had contact with someone who has COVID-19 call your doctor’s office (DO NOT WALK INTO THE HEALTH CENTER)!
Temporary Pharmacy Hours of Operation:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:00am – 5:30pm
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever/cough/sore throat/muscle aches/shortness of breath; please call your primary health care provider for guidance. For your safety and the safety of others, please do not come to the Health Center unless you have been instructed to do so. Your provider will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. If you are a North End or Charlestown resident or NEW Health patient you can make an appointment to be tested at one of our testing sites (see information above). If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms such as difficulty breathing or pressure in the chest, please call 911.
According to the CDC:
The following symptoms may occur 2-14 days after exposure.
– Sore throat
– Muscle aches
– Shortness of breath
People may think they are being safe and protecting themselves and others from the virus that causes COVID-19 by wearing gloves, but they may actually be spreading germs. Gloves do protect the skin from contamination when performing a task that involves contact with body fluids or contaminated surfaces. To be effective, however, gloves must be removed after the task, and hands must be washed or sanitized. If gloves are worn continuously during routine activities for which they are not required, the surface of the gloves may become contaminated with germs – just as skin can become contaminated. But, unlike skin, washing or sanitizing gloves is not an option. As a result, your gloved hands may actually spread the germs you have picked up and, if you touch your face with contaminated gloves, you can self-contaminate. Gloves are not a substitute for hand washing.
How to Stay Safe:
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.