Northwell Cancels Most Elective Surgeries; All LI Schools Ordered to Close

Northwell Health, which includes Huntington Hospital,  on Monday will begin canceling elective surgeries and procedures at its hospitals.

The new guidelines will not apply to emergency surgeries performed in Northwell hospitals.

Meanwhile, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone ordered all schools in the county to close as of Monday, through March 27.

The order, issued Sunday, came two days after nearly all districts within the Town of Huntington announced that they would close for a week or more. Some are using time borrowed from spring break week to make up for lost days; others are making plans to shift days to meet state requirements for a minimum 180 days of classes. With Bellone’s closure order, it was not immediately clear if that minimum would have to be met.

Huntington school district James W. Polansky wrote Sunday, saying “additional information will be forthcoming with respect to how these instructional days will be addressed in the calendar during the weeks to come.” The district plans to provide bagged meals  students starting Thursday.

Suffolk County said, “There is evidence that the virus is already present in many communities we serve, and our efforts now must be aimed at preventing its spread. As part of our larger social distancing efforts, we believe that closing schools is the right thing to do at this time.  While kids are home from school we encourage parents to continue to follow County Health Department guidance and practice social distancing and to wash hands frequently to help contain the spread of the virus.  If anyone in the family is symptomatic please stay home and quarantine yourself on a precautionary basis.”  

Northwell said that “elective surgeries, endoscopies and other invasive procedures in the health system’s outpatient settings will continue to be performed when deemed clinically necessary. If they are considered non-essential, the elective cases will be postponed or canceled to minimize COVID-19 exposure to patients and staff.”

This approach will apply to surgeries and procedures scheduled through April 15.

To further reduce the volume of patients coming into its facilities, Northwell is also directing its practitioners to reschedule non-essential visits unless clinically necessary within the next four week

Planned imaging procedures such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), mammograms and non-invasive cardiology testing will NOT be canceled at this time. Patients confirmed for imaging appoints will be contacted before their scheduled visits to identify those who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 infection.

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