Coronavirus Cases Rise at NYU Hospitals

Several patients are currently receiving treatment at NYU Langone’s Winthrop, Tisch and Brooklyn hospitals.

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Leo Sheingate

NYU Langone has centers all along the East River, including the Tisch Hospital at the Medical Center. NYU Langone is currently treating a few patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. (Staff Photo by Leo Sheingate)

By Aarushi Sharma, Staff Writer

NYU Langone reported three confirmed COVID-19 patients in NYU Winthrop Hospital and one confirmed case at the NYU Tisch Hospital in an email to WSN. 

Additionally, there are 10 pending cases at NYU Winthrop and several more at NYU Brooklyn Hospital, as of March 10. Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious disease expert and hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone, said she expects more cases of the virus to be identified throughout the country in the coming days.

“It’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur,” Lighter said.

NYU Langone has the facilities to conduct tests for coronavirus for patients exhibiting symptoms; however, the burden of cost for testing is placed on patients.

“NYU Langone conducts tests for the coronavirus for patients who are experiencing symptoms,” she said. “The cost varies based on the patient’s insurance provider.”

Despite concerns of the virus spreading, Lighter advises that everyone follow basic preventive protocol.

Wash your hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes with your arm, and avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes without washing your hands first,” Lighter said. “Alcohol-based hand rubs are a quick and effective way to sanitize your hands.”

She further advises students who think they have the virus to take caution and isolate themselves.

“We’re recommending that people who have typical cold symptoms such as runny nose and congestion without a fever stay at home until no longer sick—just like you wouldn’t necessarily go to the doctor if you have a cold,” Lighter said.

However, she advises that if cold symptoms — fever as well as muscle aches and pains — worsen, the student should contact NYU Langone’s Virtual Urgent Care immediately. Appointments can be made seven days a week from a mobile device, allowing patients to access care without leaving their homes.

She warns that if a patient is experiencing shortness of breath or is having trouble breathing that they contact 911 or visit the Emergency Department.

NYU Langone expressed that they will continue to work with the University during this state of emergency. On March 6, NYU Langone partnered with radio provider SiriusXM to launch a 24/7 radio-based hotline to provide information about the coronavirus. 

The program will be run by Langone’s infectious disease and clinical experts and can be accessed by both subscribers and non-subscribers via radio, the SiriusXM app and its website.

In addition to the radio show, Langone created a 24/7 hotline addressing questions that people may have about the virus. The hotline can be reached at 877-40-COVID.

There are currently 95 cases of coronavirus in New York City, and Mayor Bill de Blasio said that number is projected to rise to 1,000 within the next week, raising concerns about the cost of getting tested and causing more people to ask how they can protect themselves.

Recently, 44-year-old Erin McCarthy, a Brooklyn-based public school teacher, was told that she was ineligible to take the test on account of her age and lack of immune-system disorders, as reported by The City.

She was concerned that her trip to Italy, which at the time was not a recognized coronavirus hot zone, could have exposed her to the disease. However, she was asked to quarantine herself and the visit cost her nearly $10,000.

Earlier this year, a man who had visited Tokyo — prior to Japan being added to the list of countries of concern by the Center for Disease Control — began exhibiting symptoms of the virus. He was denied from taking the test at NYU Brooklyn because it would not be compliant with CDC-issued guidelines.

The hospital staff told him that the test could not be administered to him unless he was hospitalized.

Concerns have been raised about the cost of the test since insurance providers are currently only providing marginally reduced costs. There have also been critiques of the criteria used to measure if a patient needs to be tested for the virus, leading to several unreported cases.

Email Aarushi Sharma at [email protected]