IHP COVID-19 Advice for Fishers Island #7

UPDATED COVID-19 ADVICE FOR FISHERS ISLAND – #7
MAY 8, 2020
(updates in red)

 CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE COUNT:
2 cases (now recovered), 0 deaths, no new cases for isolation/monitoring
(for more information see FAQs)

QUARANTINE (FOR ARRIVALS AND RETURNEES WHO ARE HEALTHY)

  • While NY State is under a “stay at home order,” and in the absence of testing on Island, we strongly recommend that anyone arriving on Fishers Island, even after a day trip off-Island, complete 14 days of self-quarantine with their own cohort, which essentially means strict social distancing outdoors(see below) and interacting only with your own cohort indoors. This also means that everyone in your household is subject to an additional 14-day quarantine if you yourself have just arrived.
    • You don’t have to stay in your house. You can run errands at the stores, post office and ferry, with a mask.  You can exercise outdoors with your own cohort- including walks and runs, as well as golf and beach outings if access is allowed by NY state law.  You can see friends in an outdoor setting with 6’ apart.
    • If you are picking up groceries or hardware supplies, please ensure that your pick-up is contact-less according to the store’s guidelines.
    • You are strongly discouraged from socializing indoors outside your cohort.
    • As a courtesy, others would appreciate it if you let them know that you have been off Island within the last 14 days, so they can keep their distance.
  • For commuters who work daily on Island, we understand that you are not able to stay on the Island for 14 days.  Rather than the “Quarantine” guidelines, you are subject to NY State guidelines, which require social distancing of 6’ and the use of a face mask.
  • For more information, see https://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Health-Services/Health-Bulletins/Novel-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Quarantine-Information

AFTER QUARANTINE / EXPANDING COHORTS

  • After you have self-quarantined for fourteen days, and while the NY “stay at home order” is in force, we are still strongly recommending social distancing (see below).
  • We are in the early planning stages of addressing cohort expansion and incorporating testing protocols into our Summer Strategy and recommendations. We will share this with the public by May 22, and publish a final version by June 15.  Please stay tuned for ways that you can reduce quarantine times and carefully expand your cohort in future.

SOCIAL DISTANCING AND PROTECTING OTHERS

  • Social distancing means staying 6’ apart from others and not holding indoor social gatherings, dinner parties, playdates/sleepovers for your children, or in-person meetings.
  • One of the best ways to make sure that you take considerate precautions is to act as if you might infect others, even if you actually feel fine.
  • If you cohabitate with others, keep your distance from older people and anyone with a pre-existing health condition.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer with you out of the house. Wear a mask in public if you are sick or showing any symptoms of being sick.

ISOLATION (FOR THOSE WHO MAY BE POSITIVE AND THEIR CLOSE CONTACTS)

  • Anyone with a family member or close contact who has developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate for 14 days in a separate room with a separate bathroom if possible. No one in this situation should leave their house or enter any store or public place on Fishers Island.
  • If you are a close contact of someone who was symptomatic (cough, fever, shortness of breath) at the time of contact and later tested positive, you will need to isolate yourself for fourteen (14) days from the date of contact. This a mandatory NY State requirement.
  • New York State defines a close contact as being within 6 ft. of a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or someone who has tested positive of COVID-19.
  • Suffolk County guidelines are as follows:
    • If you test positive for COVID-2019, you are required to isolate yourself from other household and/or family members until further notice. You should stay at home, under mandatory quarantine, to prevent the possible spread of COVID-2019.
    • You can live with other family members in your home, but you must stay in a separate bedroom and use a separate bathroom until the isolation period is over. Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth when you have to be in common areas of the house. Avoid close contact for social or dining activities. Food should be delivered to your individual quarters.
    • Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day: in the morning and later in the day and record your temperature on a sheet of paper or electronically.
    • Call your doctor if you are feeling ill with symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Go to the emergency room if you are having trouble breathing. Wear a mask if going to the doctor’s office or hospital and call ahead to warn them you have COVID-2019.
    • If someone has tested positive for COVID-19 or been in contact with a positive case, coordination should be made with Dr, Ingram on when quarantine or isolation can be officially ended.
    • For more information, see https://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Health-Services/Health-Bulletins/Novel-Coronavirus/COVID-19-Isolation-Information.
  • In addition, IHP would like to point out that the COVID-19 virus can be shed by a positive patient for up to 21 days after the onset of symptoms, so we recommend completing 21 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms (by way of example, if you felt sick on May 1, got treated in hospital on May 5, then discharged May 8, you should return home to isolation conditions and remain there until May 22).

TRAVELING TO AND FROM THE ISLAND

  • Any arriving Fishers Island residents should be healthy when they arrive and willing to take precautions. This includes self-quarantining for 14 days on the island from the time you arrive and then practicing social distancing (see below).
  • Anyone who is feeling sick and is not already here should not come to the Island, as we cannot offer medical care in the way we ordinarily would. We need to reserve the Island’s extremely limited resources for emergency situations, and we need to protect the health of our medical staff, emergency responders, and critical infrastructure personnel.
  • We discourage people from traveling back and forth to Fishers Island, as that increases the risk of exposure of our community to COVID-19. If you are going to come, consider staying.
  • We discourage both year-round residents and seasonal property owners from bringing outside guests to the island at this time unless they plan to stay for the duration of a quarantine period (see below).  That said, this is a recommendation, not a law, and if our communications ever contradict the latest New York laws and regulations on COVID-19, state law will always prevail.
  • Errands off Island: If you do need to go off Island, please limit it to essential services, and please act responsibly upon return. Do remember that it is mandatory to wear a mask on the FI Ferry, on public or hired transportation, and in public within 6’ of others throughout the States of CT and NY. You need to remember that even if you have been exceedingly careful while off Island, you pose a risk to others during the 14-day incubation period of COVID-19.

MASKS

  • The states of New York and Connecticut now require wearing masks in public if you cannot maintain 6’ apart.  Masks are also mandatory for passengers and operators when traveling on public transportation or hired/group vehicles (this includes the FI Ferry!).  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. Please wear a mask at the following locations on Island: in the common areas of the ferry, at the freight office, inside the post office, at the Village Market or hardware store when picking up orders, and at gas stations.

MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR COVID-19

  • We are part of the Yale-New Haven Health system, and the nearest hospital is Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, CT. Their hotline for patient-specific questions is open Monday–Friday, 7 am–7 pm, call (833) 275-9644.
  • At this time, there is no COVID-19 testing available on the island. L&M Hospital now offers a walk-in test site for RNA virus testing that can be authorized on the recommendation of a doctor. Dr. Ingram can advise on testing criteria and authorize testing at L&M for anyone about to arrive on Island whether symptomatic or not. Also, we are making progress getting test kits on the Island and we plan to offer to first responder and higher risk groups first.
  • In the event that you need to leave the Island for testing or medical treatment, please know that the ferry schedule has been reduced to three times per day only: 7:00/8:15, 11:30/12:45 and 3:30/4:45, seven days a week.  The ideal way for you to leave the Island for the hospital is via ferry, in your own car.  This is to ensure there is always a Sea Stretcher crew available should there be a more serious emergency.
  • IN CASE OF MILD TO MODERATE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 while on Island, please do not visit the IHP office in person but call 631-788-7244,  917-903-3516, or email us at christopher.ingram@lmhosp.org for instructions. Monitoring will be established by phone or video consultations.
  • IN CASE OF SEVERE SYMPTOMS of COVID-19 while on Island including difficulty breathing or significant shortness of breath, you will require evaluation in a hospital setting. Please call IHP immediately at 631-788-7244 or 917-903-3516 for assistance in making that determination.  If you do leave the Island on our advice, this is the suggested protocol:
    • IHP can assist in alerting the ferry and the hospital of your arrival.
    • If able, you will be directed to self-transport in your own vehicle with sealed windows and wear a mask. In these cases, Dr. Ingram will arrange for a face mask during transit, if you do not have one.
    • DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR CAR IN THE FERRY LINE OR WHILE ON THE FERRY, AS IT PUTS OTHERS AT RISK.
    • After you arrive at L&M Hospital, the current protocol dictates that the individual under investigation must enter the hospital unaccompanied. There is a no visitor policy at this time unless that individual is a minor.
  • IN CASE OF AN OFF-HOURS EMERGENCY call Southold Dispatch, From a Fishers House Phone: 911. From a Cell Phone: 631-765-2600. If and only if the affected individuals are determined, in consultation with the IHP Clinic, to need help in transit due to the severity of their symptoms, they will travel by ambulance and Sea Stretcher, and they will be unaccompanied by family unless a minor. Please consider whether you really need on-Island support for a COVID-19 emergency, as our volunteer emergency response unit may not have adequate protection such as Hazmat suits.

DOCTOR’S OFFICE PROTOCOL REMINDERS

  • If you have a true medical emergency call 911
  • You must call the office first at 631 -788-7244 to schedule an appointment. NO WALK-INs unless a medical emergency.
  • To avoid delays in treatment, we are requesting all residents, visitors, seasonal and year-round employees on Fishers Island to have an active account with Yale New Haven health system and enrolled in MyChart and have the MyChart App downloaded (see below)
  • When possible, and in the case of Non-COVID-19 medical needs, we urge that you consult your primary care physician at home for medical visits and advice, including remotely through telemedicine, so as not to burden the IHP office, especially in the summer season.  Feel free to call the office if you are unsure whether a visit is urgent or necessary.
  • Patients will be asked Covid-19 screening questions at an initial telephone call and again if presenting for an in-office visit.
  • All patients/caregivers that present to the office must wear a face mask, unless under age two or medically unable.
  • A patient must be unaccompanied; Exceptions: Minor child under age 18 must have one parent/legal guardian/caregiver. Individuals needing medical assistance may have one caregiver.
  • Photo ID, Insurance Card, and Copay required at the visit.

MY CHART

MyChart is an online system for patient records and appointments that is the preferred way for patients to register and be seen by the Island Health Project staff. We are asking that all of our regular and prospective patients try to sign up for MyChart in advance. Step by step guidelines can be found here. Please note:

  • You must be registered as a patient with the Yale New Haven system. If you already are in the system, please download “MyChart” from the app store on your smartphone.
  • Although MyChart has the capability of scheduling appointments from the App, we ask that you DO NOT schedule appointments this way, as we do not function as a typical primary care setting which may cause a delay in treatment.
  • If you are unsure if you are a current patient and/or in the Yale New Haven Health System, we highly encourage you to call our office to confirm and leave a voice message with name and contact information. We will also be able to identify whether you are enrolled in MyChart and can initiate and walk you through the process at that time if needed.
  • Visits to our office that took place more than three years ago will not be in MyChart/EPIC. Please call the office to re-register.

Just call the office at 631-788-7244, leave a message, and we will return the call as soon as possible to help you set it up.

CONTACT TRACING

  • The purpose of contact tracing is to warn asymptomatic individuals that they may have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19.
  • People who test positive should bear the most responsibility for identifying those with whom they have been in contact since the day they were symptomatic. NY State defines a close contact as “being within 6 ft. of a person displaying symptoms of COVID-2019 or someone who has tested positive of COVID-2019.”
  • IHP will help contact a patient’s contacts but this will require the active cooperation and permission of patients.
  • Essentially, the instructions for such contacts are to go into mandatory isolation and monitor their temperature and symptoms for 14 days from the date of contact. Close contacts should call their doctor if they start to feel ill. Contacts can be referred to suffolkcountyny.gov/suffolkcovid and the button which says, “I was a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-2019. What do I do now?” for more information.
  • All passengers are asked to fill out forms when they come over to facilitate contact tracing if it becomes necessary. The personal information in the form is being held in confidence and only being used by the Island Health Project. An electronic copy of the form has been posted on FishersIsland.net COVID-19 CENSUS here.
  • We ask everyone to either fill it in online or fill it in on paper and (in the case of the latter) return the form to the doctor’s office in the metal box on the porch.
  • PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT IHP TO ASK IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO AN AFFECTED PATIENT. IF WE HAVE INFORMATION WE CAN ACT UPON, IHP WILL CONTACT YOU.

FOOD AND PROVISIONS

  • The Village Market is well stocked but operating under restrictions. Expect to order ahead and pick up outdoors, at the door. For the latest info, click.
  • If you are under quarantine (see above) you may come in person to pick up groceries outdoors with contact-less methods (groceries placed on the bench outside, and ideally charging to a credit card on file).
  • Anyone under isolation (see above) should not go to the Village Market or the ferry to pick up supplies. Send someone else to do this on your behalf, or the Village Market can arrange for delivery.

USEFUL LINKS

New York State has issued Regional Guidelines for Re-Opening New York.  They state that based on CDC recommendations, regions must experience a 14-day decline in hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average to “re-open.” Regions with few COVID cases cannot exceed 15 new total cases or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. A region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day. There are other restrictions around healthcare capacity and testing (see link for more details)

A list of Priority Industries for Re-Opening is also given in this document.  In short, these groups are:

  • Phase One: Construction, Manufacturing, and wholesale supply chain, select retail using curbside pickup
  • Phase Two: Professional services, Finance and insurance, Retail, Administrative support, Real estate, and rental leasing
  • Phase Three: Restaurants and food service, Hotels and accommodations
  • Phase Four: Arts, entertainment and recreation, Education

The Ferry is operating under restrictions and a reduced schedule of three boats/day. Ferries are thoroughly cleaned after every trip.  The ticketing lobby in New London is closed and ticketing is done at your car. For the latest info, click here.

An electronic copy of the COVID-19 Census has been posted on FishersIsland.net. Please complete the COVID-19 Census before you come or on your way over: CLICK HERE.

The NY State Governor has issued an executive order prohibiting all non-essential services. This includes all construction and day labor to Fishers Island. Here is the list of what is essential. To our knowledge, this list is still in effect.

The latest COVID-19 Situation Report from Suffolk County, updated daily, can be found here.

Navigation COVID-19 on Fishers: Find information on each Island organization and company, and links to government advice and assistance.

IHP’s COVID-19 Q&A

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