Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Is it safe to come to Mount Sinai?

Mount Sinai welcomes visitors to the hospitals, including Emergency Rooms, as long as visitors adhere to the policy below. For visitors to our ambulatory locations, please see the ambulatory visitor policy.

The visitor policy for the Mount Sinai Health System is as follows:

Before A Visit

  • Visitors must be 18 years of age or older. Visitors may include family, friends, loved ones, clergy or other individuals of patient’s choice.
  • Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 10 days will not be allowed into the hospital.
  • Anyone who has been a household contact or in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past 14 days will not be allowed into the hospital.
  • Anyone who has traveled to a location outside NY, CT, PA, NJ, MA, or VT or traveled internationally within the last 14 days must do one of the following in order to be allowed entry:
    • Have a negative COVID diagnostic test that was taken on or after Day 4 of arrival in New York
    • Self-quarantined for 14 days upon arrival
      * Exceptions include support persons deemed essential to the care of the patient; visitors to those in imminent end of life situations; companions to a patient undergoing a procedure or appointment that cannot be postponed.  
  • Visitors must wear a surgical mask during their visit. Masks with valves are not permitted. A mask will be provided if needed.
  • Visitors will be screened for symptoms, have a temperature check and be asked for contact information prior to entry.
  • Visitors must wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer, before entering and exiting their loved one’s room.
  • If needed, visitors will be given personal protective equipment (PPE) and shown the proper way to wear it.

During A Visit

  • Patients are allowed only one visitor at a time and a total of two visitors per day. 
  • Inpatients are allowed a total of four hours of visitation each day, while Emergency Room patients are allowed a total of two hours of visitation.
  • When visiting an inpatient, visitors must keep their mask on and stay in the patient’s room throughout their visit unless asked to step out by hospital staff.
  • Visitors may not be present during procedures and in the recovery room.
  • When a COVID-19 patient is receiving an aerosol generating treatment [e.g., nebulizer treatments, high flow oxygen and Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP)] visitors may not be present.

As defined by New York State, there are certain exceptions to visitation hours and limits. These exceptions include visitors for pediatrics, labor and delivery, end of life (imminent within 24 hours), and patients with cognitive or developmental impairments. Hospital leadership may apply additional exceptions as needed.

Visitors who do not comply with all of the above requirements will be asked to leave.

Hospital Visitor Hours

  • Mount Sinai Brooklyn: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
  • Mount Sinai Beth Israel: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • The Mount Sinai Hospital: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Mount Sinai Morningside: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  • Mount Sinai Queens: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Mount Sinai West: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Mount Sinai South Nassau: 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Please note, the visitor policy may be adjusted to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and visitors.

UPDATED VISITOR POLICY – 11/13/2020

Is it safe to come to Mount Sinai Ambulatory Locations?

Updated: 8/14/2020

Visitors to the ambulatory setting during the COVID-19 pandemic will be limited to ensure proper social distancing within the practices based on current government recommendations.

Visitors cannot accompany patients with scheduled outpatient appointments unless they meet the outlined exceptions below:

  • Patients who require support persons during their visit e.g. the pediatric population, oncology patients, the geriatric population, patients with obstetric visits and patients with intellectual, cognitive or developmental disability.
  • Patients scheduled for outpatient surgery are allowed one visitor for the intake aspect of their care. The visitor cannot be present during the procedure or during the recovery time. They can return post-surgery to pick up the patient.

Visitor Screen Pre-Visit:

  • The visitor must be 18 years of age or older.
  • All visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 when they arrive at the facility. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to or living with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter.
  • All visitors are expected to comply with the New York State rules on quarantine for those traveling from designated “hot spot” locations. If you have traveled to a “hot spot” location in the past 14 days, you will not be allowed entry.  

An exception to this rule is:

  1. for companions to a patient undergoing a medical procedure, elective procedure, or other appointment that cannot be postponed. 
  2. for companions who have traveled with a patient from a hot spot for an essential procedure
  3. end of life situations. 

Patients and their companions must remain quarantined except for travel that is necessary to their medical care, and the companions must abide by the visitor policy while on our campuses.

  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask over their nose and mouth during their visit. A surgical mask will be provided if the visitor does not have one, or if the one in use is dirty, damaged, or has a valve. Any other type of mask is not permitted, including mask with valves etc.
  • Visitors will be asked to perform hand hygiene upon entry to the facility.

Please note, the ambulatory guide may be adjusted to ensure the safety of staff, patients and visitors.

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory (breathing) illness caused by a coronavirus that was first identified during an outbreak in China.

I am a patient from out of state, am I exempt from the New York State quarantine rule?

New York State has announced that it will make an exception from its new quarantine rules for patients traveling here for necessary medical care and their companions.

Patients from a state where there is significant community spread of COVID-19, and their companions, may travel here despite the quarantine “for a medical procedure, elective procedure, or other appointment that cannot be postponed,” according to the state Department of Health. Patients and their companions must remain quarantined except for travel that is necessary to their medical care, and the companions must abide by the visitor policy while on our campuses.

More information on New York’s quarantine policies, including a list of states to which it applies, can be found on the NYS website.

What are the symptoms? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include (Updated by the CDC May 13, 2020):

  • Fever (temperature greater than 100° Fahrenheit)
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New onset persistent cough
  • Nasal congestion & runny nose not associated with allergies
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue (new or not explained by a pre-existing condition)
  • Headaches (new or not explained by a pre-existing condition)
  • Generalized muscle and body aches (new or not explained by a pre-existing condition)

I have symptoms, should I go to the doctor?

As recommended by the CDC, if you suspect you are infected, we recommend you seek medical care following the step-by-step guidance on the CDC website.

According to a directive from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Mount Sinai Health System is not permitted to test patients for COVID-19 who have no or mild symptoms.

Testing will not change how we treat your illness.

Whether you have COVID-19 or another seasonal illness like the flu, we advise the following:

  • Stay home and only leave if you need medical attention
  • Isolate yourself from others in your household by staying in a separate bedroom
  • Use a separate bathroom if available; otherwise, disinfect the bathroom after using
  • Everyone should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Dispose of used tissue properly in lined trash cans

If you wish to consult a doctor about your symptoms, please use our virtual service, Mount Sinai NOW as a first step. You can chat with a doctor on your smartphone or personal computer, using a video call, online visit, or Text-to-Chat. It will help us make sure you receive the appropriate care. According to a directive from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Mount Sinai Health System is not permitted to test patients for COVID-19 who have no or mild symptoms.

COVID-19 Help
If you or a loved one has questions about COVID-19 symptoms, testing or treatment, you can text 4-SINAI (474624) from any mobile device to receive answers.

For any questions after receiving negative COVID-19 test results, you can call 646-605-5959 to receive further guidance.

How do I get tested?

If you have questions about COVID-19 testing – including when and if you should get tested – visit us online for Mount Sinai Now Virtual Care. A clinician will address all of your questions and provide testing guidance.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

Because some people infected with COVID-19 may not have any symptoms, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that you wear a face covering (such as a homemade face mask) when in public. Masks with valves are not recommended. Higher grade medical masks and respirators should be reserved for health care workers.

How can I protect myself?

  • Perform hand hygiene either with alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol) or soap and water.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surface.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Are elective surgeries being scheduled at Mount Sinai hospitals?

As of June 9, 2020, the state of New York is now allowing elective surgeries which were halted due to the COVID-19 crisis to resume. Elective surgeries can now take place at all Mount Sinai Health System hospitals, doctor’s offices, and ambulatory surgery centers. Teams from across the Health System are working to ensure a safe environment, so that patients can be confident in coming in to get the care they need.

I want to know more; what are good sources of information?

The best resource for information on the virus is on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. The CDC provides useful information including frequently asked questions and travel guidance. More information is also available at mountsinai.org/covid19.