Reopen News: Long Island hospital makes itself 'coronavirus contained' to encourage elective surgeries

SYOSSET, Long Island (WABC) -- Officials with a Long Island hospital are calling the hospital "coronavirus contained" after not receiving a COVID-19 patient for the past seven weeks and thoroughly cleaning the facility.

Those with Syosset Hospital operated by Northwell Health said they undertook the arduous task in order to encourage thousands of patients who have delayed their elective surgeries to have their surgeries completed as soon as possible.

"There's a large group of patients that if their surgeries continue to be delayed it poses potential risk to them," said Steve Bello, Senior Vice President and Regional Executive Director for Northwell Health. "We're really intent on opening the doors in a safe way so those patients can come in, feel safe and comfortable and really get the care that they need."

Bello said the health system is aware of 25,000 patients who put off their surgeries.

"Now's the time," he said. "We really are encouraging people to come back."

Bello said, furthermore, Northwell's surgical programs are vital as they provide the health system with the resources to fund services which are essential to patients.

Several weeks ago Syosset Hospital underwent an intense cleaning which involved replacing carpets, refinishing floors and repainting walls. Hospital furniture was replaced. Each patient room was cleaned twice - one time by an internal cleaning crew and one time by an outside contractor.

"I would say it's as clean as you could possibly make a facility," Bello said.

Bello said if someone comes to Syosset Hospital exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, they are not allowed to leave the emergency department.

"Part of the beauty of Northwell Health is we have 23 different hospitals," he said. "We have the ability to send patients who are COVID-positive to dedicated units in other facilities."

Each person who enters the hospital is given a new mask, has to use hand sanitizer and have their temperature taken.

If someone is scheduled for surgery at the hospital, he or she is required to have a coronavirus test within two to three days of the surgery date. The test is administered in the hospital parking lot.

"If they are COVID-positive and they can wait, their surgery gets delayed," Bello said. "If they cannot wait we offer them access to a different facility."

Timothy Reis, of Old Bethpage, had hip replacement surgery Monday at the hospital. He said he was thrilled he was able to have the surgery as quickly as possible once elective surgeries were permitted.

Reis said he was pleasantly surprised at the level of cleanliness of the hospital.

"The hospital is spotless," he said. "I came in yesterday. There was nobody here. I think two people at the desk and the security guard and the floor was as shiny as can be. You could eat off it."

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