Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

March 11, 2020—VNSNY is committed to helping New Yorkers stay safe and healthy. We have specific procedures in place for staff and patients to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

What is VNSNY doing to help avoid the spread of COVID-19?

Patient safety and health are always a top priority at VNSNY. Our staff are in the community every day and are always vigilant about protecting their—and their patients’—health. Our everyday precautions include screening patients and members of their households before making any home visit. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we are asking additional screening questions and taking appropriate action as needed.

Additionally, all staff are required by the New York State Department of Health to screen themselves every day to ensure they do not have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms—or any other illness that might be passed along to patients or their families.

What other steps is VNSNY taking to keep patients, plan members, and the community safe?

VNSNY has been working with the New York State Department of Health and the CDC to make sure our patients, staff, and the community we serve are supported against COVID-19.

  • Education. All staff have been trained in minimizing the chances of their becoming infected with COVID-19 and transmitting infection to those they care for, as well as in identifying the symptoms, safety, and screening practices.
  • Communication. VNSNY has activated its Emergency Response System to provide the most up-to-date information to staff.
  • Collaboration. We are working closely with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in addition to state and federal agencies and medical facilities, to make sure our procedures and guidelines reflect the most current medical information.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC believes that symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure. Mild cases may seem like a cold or a lower respiratory illness, such as a bronchitis.

In those with weakened immune systems, including people with chronic illness and the elderly, the virus can cause severe symptoms. These may include difficulty breathing and high fever, and may lead to pneumonia or other severe infections.

What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?

The most important thing is to stay calm. Remember, you are living in an area with the best health care systems in the world. If you develop a fever, cough, or other signs you may have COVID-19 infection, you should immediately contact your doctor and/or local medical center to discuss whether you should get test­ed for the virus.

What can I do to avoid catching COVID-19?

washing your hands is important to preventing infections like coronavirus

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick (stay at least six feet away if possible).
  • Please note that the CDC is advising individuals to stay home when you are sick, particularly if you are experiencing the symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection as described above: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.

Who is at risk from COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people at high risk for developing a more serious case of COVID-19 are older adults and those with chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease.

What is the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?

Coronavirus is a term for a group of viruses. Four types of coronavirus cause the common cold. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus.

For More Information

This is a rapidly changing situation. For updates, please see these resource pages from the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York State has also established a hotline for questions and information: 1-888-364-3065.

VNSNY CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE FUND