Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Is it safe to go to Mount Sinai hospitals and doctor’s offices for an appointment, procedure, or surgery?
Yes. At Mount Sinai, our doctors, nurses, and staff members are working diligently to ensure the health and safety of each patient who depends on us for care. Throughout our health system, we’re protecting our patients with rigorous protocols—including continuous disinfection, maintaining social distancing, and separation of COVID-19 patients.
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.
How can I be kept safe from another patient with COVID-19?
To look out for everyone’s well-being, we are isolating COVID-19 patients from other patients. If you have COVID-19, we will reschedule appointments until a future date when you are no longer contagious. If you have COVID-19 and need to see a doctor right away, you’ll be directed away from other patients. If you do not have COVID-19, you can be assured that any other patients you may encounter while at the office have been screened for everyone’s safety.
Can my doctor treat me via telemedicine?
Yes. We will continue to provide the service to our patients.
What if I need to see my doctor urgently?
Please call 1-800-MD-SINAI and the call center will be able toschedule you an appointment to see your doctor or direct youto an urgent care center.
Do I need to wear a mask when I go to the doctor? Will there be social distancing in the waiting room?
Yes, our new policy will require that everyone needs to wear face coverings. Any appropriate face covering that you put on when being in public will be allowed in any of our medical facilities. If you do not have an appropriate face covering, onewill be provided to you. We will limit the number of patients waiting for their appointments in the waiting room and will even arrange the furniture to make social distancing easier. Our goal is to bring you into a room immediately so you do not have to wait in the waiting room.
How do I know the facilities are clean?
We have been disinfecting all areas and frequently touched surfaces before the pandemic and will continue to do so during the pandemic.
Can I get tested for COVID-19?
Yes. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you can get diagnosed through a test called the COVID-19 PCR test.
Are there enough tests?
The Governor of New York and the Mayor of New York City are working very hard to make sure we have enough testing supplies to test as many people as possible with symptoms ofCOVID-19 or who have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19.
What COVID-19 symptoms I should look out for?
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with the following symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
If I’m sick with COVID-19, how long until the virus is out of my system, and how long do I have to stay home?
Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 should stay home until the following criteria are met:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; AND
- Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
This approach will prevent most, but may not prevent all, instances of secondary spread. The risk of transmission after recovery is likely substantially less than that during illness. Tofurther reduce the risk, individuals should continue to wear face coverings when around other people. Avoid prolonged, close contact with vulnerable persons (e.g. compromised immune system, underlying illness, 70 years of age or older).
Persons with compromised immune systems may need to be isolated longer after they recover from COVID-19.
When and where can I get tested for antibodies?
Please schedule a video visit with your primary care doctor to discuss options.
If I have antibodies, am I protected against reinfection?
It is unclear whether the presence of SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) antibodies will result in immunity to prevent future COVID-19 infections. Studies are still needed to determine if people who test positive for SARS CoV-2 antibodies are immune after they are exposed to SARS CoV-2 again in the future.
Are you immune to the virus after you have recovered?
Based on our current knowledge of how the body reacts to aninfection, we presume that the presence of antibodies against a particular virus could mean that you have some level of immunity to that virus. But more studies need to be conducted by researchers to know for sure.
How do I know my doctor has the right protective equipment?
Experts within the Mount Sinai Health System have developed guidelines and instructions for our providers to follow in order to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19. We have adequate personal protective equipment for our health care workers. You will notice that every health care worker will be wearing a surgical mask.
How can I be kept safe from another patient with COVID-19?
We will identify COVID-19 patients and isolate them from other patients. We will even reschedule their appointments until a future date when they are no longer contagious. And if patients with COVID-19 need to see a doctor, we are directing them away from other patients.