COVID-19: For Employees

Latest Updates

March 24, 2020 COVID-19 Update from the Response Team

New Sampling Site Opens This Morning – Replaces Craft Road Sampling Site

As you know, we have been running a COVID-19 Screening site on Craft Road. Since opening on March 16th we have sampled hundreds of patients. Recognizing the growing need for expanding our ability to screen more patients for COVID-19, we are opening a much larger screening site this morning at the Shops at Ithaca Mall parking lot in front of the old Bon Ton.

The new Sampling Center location at the Mall will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We will be assessing the hours of operations daily to make any adjustments that are needed. This new site replaces the Craft Road screening location.

To help patients navigate through the Sampling Center, a new app has been established and is available online at for patients to use so they can pre-register before they arrive, allowing greater efficiencies with patient volume and decreased wait times. In addition, a call center has been set up for patients who may need assistance registering or have questions. The call center number is 607-319-5708. Patients entering the screening location can tune into FM 96.3 to receive instructions about driving through the Sampling Center. In addition, signs will also assist with conveying important information to assist with traffic control.

Thank you so much for supporting the rapid changes we have had to implement over the past several weeks as we address the growing cases of COVID-19 in New York State.

March 21, 2020 COVID-19 Update from the Response Team

Non-Essential Surgeries

Effective Friday March 20, 2020, at 5PM, all non-essential surgeries have been postponed by 60 days due to COVID-19.

Cayuga Medical Center will continue to provide availability for emergent/urgent surgeries. Note: All communication related to COVID-19 is posted on the intranet. Any media requests must be directed to Public Relations (274-4498).

3/19/20 COVID-19 Updates from the Response Team

Hospital Visitation Suspended
Because COVID-19 has been detected in multiple communities in New York State, and over concern that visitors may introduce COVID-19 infection into the hospital, effective March, 18, 2020, all hospital visitations in New York State have been suspended until further notice, except when medically necessary or for family members or legal representatives of patients in imminent end-of-life care. Labor and delivery are allowed one person, special restrictions apply.

3/14/20 COVID-19 Updates from the Response Team

In light of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County and in order to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, staff, and communities we serve Cayuga Medical Center is putting visitor restrictions in place that will begin March 15th at 3 p.m. and remain in effect until further notice. The restrictions are as follows:

  • All patients, visitors, and employees entering the building will be screened.
  • One visitor will be allowed per inpatient.
  • You will not be allowed entry into any Cayuga Medical Center building if you are sick.

Any and all visitors, including family members, with symptoms of illness such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath will not be allowed in patient areas to help control the spread of illnesses. Cayuga Medical Center will work with families who have special circumstances, such as a critically ill or injured family member, on a case-by-case basis.


3/13/20 COVID-19 Updates from the Response Team

Dr. Doug MacQueen
CHS Infectious Diseases

-There are 234 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New York State.
-There are zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Tompkins County.
-There are zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Schuyler County.
-There are zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Cortland County.
-If you are not caring for a patient being tested or evaluated for COVID-19 or do not have respiratory symptoms yourself, please do not wear a mask as part of your routine. We need to prioritize masks for those who are caring for patient face to face with possible COVID-19.

COVID-19 Patient Flow
This is a change to our prior policy regarding patient placement of inpatients.

  1. Patients will go to the unit that is appropriate for their level of care, regardless of COVID-19 testing status.
  2. Within a unit, they will go to a negative pressure room if available, if not available then they will go to a single patient room with HEPA filter and door closed, if no filter available, they will go to a single patient room with door closed.
  3. No visitors will be permitted to stay with patients who are being tested for or have COVID-19. The exception is that one parent may stay with a person who is age 18 or under.

COVID-19 Room cleaning

  1. After a patient who had COVID-19 or was tested for COVID-19 has moved out of a room, it can be cleaned immediately if the person doing the cleaning wears appropriate PPE (gown, gloves, eye protection, mask).
  2. If the room is a negative pressure room or had a HEPA filter in it, and it can be left empty for 30 minutes before cleaning, the person doing the cleaning only needs their usual level of PPE that they would use in a non COVID-19 room.

3/12/20 COVID-19 Updates from the Response Team

Travel Restrictions

    • Cayuga Health System is restricting all health system-sponsored and -supported travel that includes travel out of the area until further notice. Additionally, we are strongly encouraging employees to reconsider any upcoming personal travel.
    • Any employee returning from travel to a CDC-designated region of concern for COVID-19 is now required to be screened before returning to work and may be asked to self-quarantine at home for up to fourteen days.

Social Distancing

    • We are asking all employees to use readily available business tools, like Skype, GoTo Meeting, etc. for business, teleconferencing and videoconferencing, to participate in meetings from their office or workstation, thus, minimizing the need for large groups of employees to gather in small spaces. For anyone presenting at a meeting, please make sure you have any handouts or powerpoint completed early enough so that can be sent to everyone prior to the meeting date.
    • We are also asking everyone to consider canceling meetings that are not time sensitive and reschedule to a later date. The meeting organizer should be involved in making the final decision on whether a meeting is cancelled.
    • When face-to-face meetings are necessary, the CDC recommends expanding personal space boundaries to three to six feet and avoid the practice of shaking hands.
    • Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled or postponed system-wide events currently scheduled for March and April. As the situation continues to be fluid, we do not yet know when March/April events will be rescheduled. Additionally, we will address the potentiality of additional event re-scheduling for later months as developments warrant.

3/12/20 COVID-19 Update

From Dr. Doug MacQueen
Infectious Disease Doctor

– The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic.
– There are currently zero confirmed cases of coronavirus for Tompkins County.
– The CDC has changed their PPE recommendation from standard, contact, eye protection, and airborne precautions to standard, contact, eye protection and droplet precautions for COVID-19 suspects or cases. For most circumstances, it means that we will use a simple mask instead of an N95 or PAPR for routine care of those who have or are suspected of having COVID-19. We will continue to use N95/PAPR for aerosolizing procedures involving a COVID-19 case or suspected case.
– It is still important to be mindful of our mask usage. Please use the appropriate masks for the appropriate situation. If you have any questions about what you should be using or if you should be using anything at all, please contact the Infection Prevention department.

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