Two Years Later: NYC Health + Hospitals Looks Back at Its Role in Caring, Testing, Vaccinating, and Healing New York Through the COVID-19 Pandemic
NYC Health + Hospitals continues to urge New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted at its hospitals, Gotham Health clinics, and Test & Trace locations; sites remain open and convenient
Mar 25, 2022
NYC Health + Hospitals today marked two years since the public health system admitted its first patient in March with a known diagnosis of COVID-19 to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. Throughout the entire pandemic, the health system in collaboration with the NYC Test & Trace Corps, tested, vaccinated and treated thousands of New Yorkers. At the peak of the first wave in April of 2020, the health system treated approximately 4,000 patients. Yesterday, there were fewer than 24 admitted patients with COVID-19 across the system’s 11 hospitals. The health system also just recently opened its third COVID-19 Center of Excellence, a specialized clinic for patients with long-term COVID-19 symptoms, known as Long-COVID. A tribute to NYC Health + Hospitals employees can be found here, and a video summarizing the health system’s response can be found here.
“While the pandemic is not over, it’s important to mark the anniversary and remind New Yorkers that vaccines and boosters have saved thousands of lives,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “Our heroic workforce has been on the frontlines since early March when the first COVID-19 patients came through our doors, and they did everything they could to ensure our patients could recover from this disease.”
“Since our fight against COVID began, our healthcare heroes have worked tirelessly, never giving up, leading us forward and saving thousands of lives,” said Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director of the NYC Test & Trace Corps and Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Thanks to their efforts, we have provided New Yorkers millions of vaccines and over ten million COVID-19 tests, while always keeping our doors open for anyone who needs to receive care. We have kept our city safe through the pandemic, and as we learn to safely manage COVID-19, we will remain vigilant to protect our city from anything that comes our way.
Through the four surges to date, the health system has provided quality and compassionate care for thousands of patients at its hospitals and nursing homes. More than 116,000 patients have been discharged from its hospitals. The emergency departments managed nearly 273,000 patient visits. New Yorkers continue to trust the health system’s heroic health care workers, its hospitals, and clinics for their care.
Vaccination is Still Key
NYC Health + Hospitals continues to vaccinate and boost New Yorkers. To date, the health system, with the NYC Test & Trace Corps, has administered over 1.7 million doses and continues to provide mobile vaccinations in areas of need, including New York City Schools, and offer at-home vaccination appointments. Eligible New Yorkers are still encouraged to get vaccinated and can make an appointment by using the health system’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduler.
Test and Trace
The public health system built the largest and most robust testing and tracing operation in the country – the NYC Test & Trace Corps. Since the program began, it has performed more than 10.5 million tests. During the recent Omicron surge, City-run testing sites tripled over the course of three weeks, conducting more tests than ever before. City-run testing reached a peak of nearly 67,000 tests performed on a single day, January 3, and averaged over 50,000 tests per day during the first weeks of 2022. In December 2021, City-run testing sites detected at least 133,000 positive tests.
Test & Trace continues to provide testing at over a hundred locations across the city and distribute millions of at-home tests through New York City schools, community-based organizations, libraries and cultural institutions.
Through contact tracing, the Test & Trace Corps identified 1.7 million contacts, providing millions of opportunities to break chains of transmission and provide those exposed the resources needed to safely quarantine or isolate. While the tracing program will formally wind down at the end of April, positive cases will still be texted by Test & Trace to be connected to guidance and resources to help them quarantine and isolate. New Yorkers who were exposed or test positive for COVID-19 can also be directed to an online Quarantine and Isolation Guidance tool that offers personalized guidance and quick connections to resources.
Continuing its focus on saving lives, Test & Trace also recently launched COVID Treatment Outreach or CATCH. The initiative will quickly contact New Yorkers at the highest risk of developing serious or severe COVID-19 infections, with a priority on those living in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. CATCH will ensure that life-saving oral antiviral treatments, monoclonal antibody treatment, and other healthcare resources are promptly delivered to those in need.
With the City’s Department of Education, the NYC Test & Trace Corps created the nation’s first COVID-19 Situation Room, which has enabled NYC to be the first big city in the country to reopen its schools during the COVID pandemic. In addition, Test & Trace created the first school testing surveillance program in the country, and regularly conducts over 80,000 tests per week to ensure students remain healthy and schools remain open.
Additionally, Test & Trace helped 33,000 people isolate at our Test & Trace Corps hotel, and delivered more than 2.2 million free meals to those in isolation or quarantine.
In April of 2021 the NYC Test & Trace Corps launched AfterCare to support New Yorkers living with Long COVID—a wide range of new, ongoing or returning symptoms patients may develop after their initial COVID-19 infection. The program, which recently announced an inbound calling hotline for New Yorkers to speak directly to its health outreach specialists, connects prior Test & Trace clients who had COVID-19 with ongoing health and social needs to the full range of resources and referrals relating to Long-COVID, including NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 Centers of Excellence.
Just recently, the health system opened its third COVID-19 Center of Excellence at 815 Broadway in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The other two Centers of Excellence are in Tremont, Bronx and Elmhurst, Queens. All of the sites are located in neighborhoods that were significantly affected by the virus. These centers will ensure New Yorker’s have access to the specialized care to address long-term respiratory, cognitive and mental health conditions caused by the virus.
New Yorkers can also schedule an appointment at these, or any one of the NYC Health + Hospitals facilities by calling 844-NYC-NYC (844-692-4692).