Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined with The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s President and CEO Gary Terrinoni, health care workers, and elected leaders to unveil a new on-site tent facility to pre-screen patients who believe they have contracted novel coronavirus and to determine if they need to be tested for the sickness. The facility, which will be fully operational starting on Wednesday, March 18th, will help relieve overcrowding in emergency rooms (ERs) and allow health care facilities to allocate finite resources such as testing services more effectively. Borough President Adams called for this kind of facility to be replicated by hospitals throughout the city in order to contain the spread of coronavirus and to address ongoing critical health care needs separate from the coronavirus.
People who are concerned they may have contracted novel coronavirus will be able to enter the tent in front of the emergency room and be screened by trained medical professionals, using tools such as remote thermometers. Those that are exhibiting severe symptoms such as respiratory distress will be directed into the ER to be tested for COVID-19, while those that are experiencing mild symptoms, or aren’t experiencing symptoms consistent with the disease, will be encouraged to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution.
“As the spread of coronavirus places an enormous strain on our health care system, we must find innovative ways to allocate resources and flatten the curve. The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s new pre-screening tent will alleviate the burden on their emergency room, and allow those with the greatest level of need to receive the proper care. We must couple this new facility with other remote pre-screening measures, such as a robust telemedicine program, to help turn the tide on this disease. I commend President Terrinoni on this step, and for all Brooklyn Hospital does on behalf of Brooklynites,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“These are trying times, but The Brooklyn Hospital Center is your community hospital in ordinary and difficult times. We are working around the clock, and our excellent doctors, nurses and other providers are diligently keeping up to date with best-practice guidelines, and coming up with solutions, such as this tent for pre-screening,” said Gary G. Terrinoni, President and CEO of The Brooklyn Hospital Center. “We are also keeping our community up to date with frequent posts on our website and our social media platforms about what you need to know as we adapt our operations to handle this outbreak, as well as tips to keep you and your family safe. Together, we will get through this.”
“Brooklyn Hospital Center is on the frontline of fighting the coronavirus pandemic in New York City, and I applaud the innovative efforts they are taking to keep us all safe and healthy. The tireless work and dedication of their health care professionals will help Brooklyn weather this storm together as a community,” said Congress Member Hakeem Jeffries.
“Today marks an important day in our efforts to keep New York safe as from COVID-19. Brooklyn Hospital will now have a pre-screening center for the virus, in an effort to take as much strain off of our healthcare system as possible. I feel strongly this facility is the first step toward beating the novel coronavirus in our district and throughout Brooklyn. We thank Brooklyn Hospital for their leadership and commitment to our community during this challenging time,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo.
The unveiling of the new facility comes as ERs throughout the city have reported a surge of patients in connection with the spread of the novel coronavirus. Medical professionals and public health experts have repeatedly warned in recent days that if the City fails to undertake significant efforts to “flatten the curve,” which refers to slowing the spread of the virus, medical facilities and ERs will be overwhelmed, forcing doctors and nurses to ration care. Public and private hospitals throughout the city have encouraged those experiencing mild symptoms to consider options for pre-screening such as telemedicine, of which Borough President Adams has been a strong proponent.
To date, there have been 814 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City. Statewide, there is a 19% hospitalization rate for the illness as of the most recent reports.