The Latest Updates from Saratoga Hospital
Saratoga Hospital is not a community vaccination site, and neither are any of our facilities. We are providing COVID-19 vaccine information because we are already seeing the positive impact of vaccination in our community. We encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.
You can find the latest information—and schedule an appointment—online at the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine website, or by calling the New York State Vaccine Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). Vaccine eligibility is constantly changing, so check back often.
- Vaccination is currently open to everyone in the United States age 5 and over. (Pfizer only for ages 5-17)
- Vaccination for 5-11-year-olds should be available at pediatrician’s offices, children’s hospitals and some pharmacies. Scheduling websites like vaccines.gov, CVS, Walgreens and Hannaford are increasingly being updated. More capacity will be opening as the pediatric vaccine rolls out more widely to pediatrician’s offices.
- The Vaccine Finder site is a helpful tool to find vaccine near you.
Booster EligibilityAs of October 21, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) endorsed booster shots for all three COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
The CDC recommends booster shots for:
- Adults age 65 and older
- Adults ages 50 – 65 with certain comorbidities
- Residents of long-term care facilities
Adults ages 18 – 49 with certain comorbidities, and those with jobs in which they are at an increased rate of being exposed to COVID-19, are also eligible for a booster.
Those who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be eligible for a booster six months after their second dose. All recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster at least two months after their initial dose, regardless of age, occupation, or other risk factors.
The CDC also endorsed a “mix and match’ approach: If you are interested in a booster, you do not need to choose the same brand as your initial vaccine. There is no advisement for or against Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson for the booster dose.
All major pharmacies in the area—CVS, Hannaford, Rite Aid, Walgreens—offer the COVID-19 vaccines free of charge. Most have multiple vaccines to choose from, and you can schedule an appointment through their online apps or on their websites.
Medical professionals are needed to help at vaccination sites across the state. Albany Med's Capital Region Vaccine Network provides criteria for volunteering and contact information for each county.
Please share this information with anyone who qualifies and may be interested in assisting.
Questions on volunteering? Email CapitalRegionVax@amc.edu
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many doses of the vaccine do I need?
A: It depends on which vaccine you receive:
- Pfizer: Two doses, 19 - 23 days apart
- Moderna: Two doses, 26 - 30 days apart
- Johnson & Johnson: One dose
A: The goal is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible to contain the disease, protect our community, and stop the development of variants. All three available vaccines are safe and effective. Pfizer is the only vaccine so far authorized for children ages 12-17.
Q: Do I have to pay for the vaccine?
A: No. Vaccine doses were purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars and are being distributed to the American people at no cost.
Q: How long will the effects of vaccination last?
A: This is not known at this time. It is possible the initial doses of the vaccine will provide long-term or even lifelong immunity from COVID-19 or it may be that you will need to be vaccinated every year, similar to the flu vaccine.
Q: Do I need a vaccine if I already had COVID-19?
A: Yes. There is not enough information available to say if or for how long natural immunity lasts. There are no risks to receiving the vaccine based on whether you have already had the disease.
Q: Do I need to wear a mask when I am being vaccinated?
A: Yes. The CDC recommends that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, including when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: Do I have to continue wearing a mask and practicing social distancing once I'm fully vaccinated?
A: The CDC has the latest guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.
Q: How long will it take before we get back to normal?
A: Experts estimate it will take six to nine months before we reach herd immunity—a 75% - 90% vaccination rate—and life can return to normal. The good news is we are on our way!
John Hopkins University of Medicine
New York State Department of Health
New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Program: Ensuring a Safe and Effective COVID-19 Vaccine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Vaccines: Safety is a Top Priority
Visitation & Hospital Access Policies
We understand and respect families and friends wanting to visit patients who have been admitted to Saratoga Hospital. However, our primary responsibility is to create a safe environment for our patients and our staff.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have instituted a no visitors policy. This reflects the most current public health guidelines: to safely manage the number of people in the hospital to reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
We do encourage virtual visits as an alternative to in-person visitation. If needed, we can provide patients with tablet devices and assistance to help patients connect with friends and family. Patients can ask their care team for additional guidance on virtual visits.
The final decision on patient visitation will be made by the patient care team based on:
- The patient's medical condition
- The patient's care plan when visitation will benefit the patient's care and well-being
- Visitation will be set for each patient by the patient's care team
- Patients will be asked to identify a designated visitor, 18-years old or older
- The patient care team will contact the designated visitor directly to confirm the visitation process
- Patients may be limited to one approved designated visitor per day
Compassionate Exception Rules
- Masks must be worn by visitors at all times, while on hospital property - including patient rooms
- Masks must be worn appropriately, covering the nose and mouth; depending upon a patient's condition, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required
- Visitors must use the Main Hospital Entrance to enter and exit the building up until 5 PM
- When approved visitation is after 5 PM, visitors should use the Emergency Department Entrance
- Visitors will be required to review and confirm they meet screening criteria
- Visitors will not be allowed to visit if they are ill, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have participated in high-risk COVID-19 activities
- No visitors on quarantine will be allowed to visit
- All visitors must check-in at the registration desk after screening to receive their visitor badge; visitors may be requested to show a photo ID
- The visitor badge will identify the approved destination; this badge must be worn during the entire length of the visit and must be worn above the waist
- Visitors must go directly to their destination
- Visitors will not be allowed to visit the cafeteria, gift shop or any location other than the approved destination
- Visitors must perform hand hygiene before entering and when exiting the patient's room
- Visitors may not eat or drink in the patient's room
- Visitors who fail to wear a mask or follow other safety precautions may be asked to leave the hospital
Separate visitation guidelines are established for the following departments:
- Mother/Baby Unit
- Visitation is not permitted at this time, with the exception of labor support (father of the baby, partner, or other designated support person).
- Radiation Oncology Center (ROC)
- Limited to one support person at the time of initial consultation.
- Surgical Services
- Compassionate exceptions for patients with a demonstrated need will be managed during the pre-procedure phone call.
This "no visitors" policy also applies to:
- Alfred Z. Solomon Emergency Center
- Urgent Care - Adirondack
- Urgent Care - Wilton
- Malta Med Emergent Care
- All Saratoga Hospital Medical Group primary care and specialty offices
For more details on these separate guidelines, please call 518-587-3222.
We will continue to provide compassionate exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Saratoga Hospital reserves the right to modify this policy. Visitation rights can be rescinded at any time.
Saratoga Hospital and Saratoga Hospital outpatient facilities shall respect the rights of patients to choose who may visit/accompany them when they are hospitalized or seen in an outpatient setting.
Visitors will not be restricted, limited, or otherwise denied on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age or disability. The patient has the right to withdraw or deny his/her consent to receive specific visitors.
It is not possible to anticipate every instance that may give rise to a clinically appropriate rationale for a restriction or limitation. Our staff will exercise their best clinical judgment when determining when visitation is, or is not, appropriate. Clinical judgment will take into account all aspects of the patient's health.
Updated August 13, 2021
Saratoga Hospital Testing Tent
Saratoga Hospital has established a separate lab specimen collection site for approved COVID-19 testing of patients.
The temporary specimen collection site is the safest way to provide this service to the community.
The collection location and process help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 by separating patients who have been referred for specimen collection from those coming to Saratoga Hospital for medical care or routine testing. Specimens are sent to an approved testing lab for processing.
The site can be reached by turning off of Church Street onto Myrtle Street. Please take a left to enter Myrtle Street Park and follow the signage to the tent.
Patients must be referred for COVID-19 specimen collection at this site either by a licensed healthcare provider or by the New York State Department of Health.
You must also have a scheduled appointment. There is no walk-in service.
Looking for your test results? Here are detailed instructions on how to create an account with LabCorp and access your test results. You need to be 18 years old or over to create an account. For those under the age of 18, an individual, such as a parent or legal guardian, will need to be authorized to view your lab test results from within their own account. Your results will be listed under "Dependents".
The site is designed to meet New York State Department of Health and federal Centers for Disease Control guidance.
Questions on COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Donation
COVID-19 Testing at Saratoga Hospital
Saratoga Hospital offers PCR (non-rapid) COVID-19 tests. A provider order is required, and tests are reserved for people who:
- Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms OR
- Have recently been exposed to COVID-19 OR
- Are seeking to learn their coronavirus status for travel or visiting plan purposes OR
- Need proof of a negative test result to return to work or school.
PCR (non-rapid) tests are available at four locations:
- Drive-up testing tent at 59 Myrtle Street Park, Saratoga Springs.
- Appointments required.
- Malta Med Emergent Care at Saratoga Medical Park at Malta (off Northway Exit 12).
- Open 24/7.
- Urgent Care – Wilton on the Wilton campus, off Route 50.
- Open 7 days a week during normal business hours.
- Urgent Care – Adirondack in the Mount Royal Plaza in Queensbury, 959 Route 9.
- Open 7 days a week during normal business hours.
A reminder that masks are required at all Saratoga Hospital locations. For COVID-19 testing, please wear your mask until we ask you to remove or lower it.
We continue to update testing schedules and requirements to reflect the latest pandemic protocols and regulations. Please check back often for the most current testing information.
Self Care Resources
Many of us are understandably anxious with the arrival of COVID-19 in our corner of the world. We've included some community resources below to help you and your loved ones cope with this ever-changing landscape.
Taking Care of your Body
Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and manage anxiety. There are many online sources for yoga and exercise. Below are just a few, so if you have a favorite gym or yoga studio, please check their website or social channels for online classes.
Our lives have radically changed in a matter of weeks. Taking the time to slow down, relax, and breathe is particularly effective in managing stress.
- One Roof Saratoga
- A weekly meditation will be available every Saturday
- Beyond My Battle
- Insight Timer
If you need to talk to someone individually about your stress, anxiety, or depression, and are a patient of Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, please contact your primary care provider for a referral to our telephonic behavioral health services. These services include screening, assessment, and counseling for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health services.
You can also call your health insurance company and ask for a referral to a behavioral health provider offering tele-mental health or telephonic services.
Other available resources:
- New York State Office of Mental Health
- New York State Mental Health Hotline: 1-844-863-9314
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Take a break from the news. While it’s important to stay informed, excessive watching, reading, or listening to the news can be upsetting—and that includes scrolling through social media. Get only what you need from reliable sources, like the CDC and NYS Department of Health.
- Limit screen time. You can mitigate your anxiety by decreasing the amount of time you spend online. Give your eyes and mind a break by opening a window and breathing fresh air. Go for a walk if you can. Try some other activities you enjoy, like coloring or singing. Take the time to enjoy a favorite hobby, or try something new.
- Maintain normalcy. Keep to your regular routine as much as possible. Continue getting up and showering as you always do, making changes only if needed. Work from home. Continue your weekly activities through virtual platforms like Skype or Zoom. Reach out to your friends and loved ones through FaceTime, or make an old-fashioned phone call! Structure your children’s days as much as possible, including family time together. That sense of normalcy will help to reduce stress and anxiety.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) also offers useful resources addressing coronavirus anxiety, managing isolation, how to talk to your children and teens, personal stories of triumph, and more.
If your stress or anxiety is keeping you from getting through your day for longer than a week, or you cannot shake serious feelings of sadness and depression, call your healthcare provider right away. You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.
Most importantly, remind yourself that we’re all in this together, and Saratoga Hospital has resources for patients feeling anxious or depressed. We can help you get through this.
Steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses
It is important to follow basic preventative measures:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick*
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask
*If someone believes they may be sick, we encourage people to call their provider before going to a provider’s office or urgent care to help assess the next best steps for care and provide appropriate guidance. For example, in most mild case, a provider visit may not be necessary.
- NYSDOH Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
How can you help?
It is wonderfully gratifying to have such generous offers from members of our community, and we cannot thank you enough for this outpouring of support.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Gifts to the Saratoga Hospital COVID-19 Response Fund
- Send a Message to Saratoga Hospital Healthcare Workers
- Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Medical Supplies
- Handmade Masks and Scrub Hats
Gifts to the Saratoga Hospital COVID-19 Response Fund
Your gift to the Saratoga Hospital COVID-19 Response Fund will provide the resources to source essential supplies and to provide emergent care for our critical patients. We are also seeing increasing urgent healthcare needs for those in our community negatively impacted by COVID-19 including loss of income and health insurance. Saratoga Hospital and Saratoga Community Health Center are committed to caring for all members of our community and your gift can assist in paying for prescriptions and stocking the Center's Teaching Food Pantry during this time of need.
We invite you to show your support and appreciation for those on the front lines with an email or mailed card. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send your card/note to:
Neighbor to Neighbor
c/o Saratoga Hospital Foundation
211 Church Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Medical Supplies
First step: Email us at email@example.com
As a hospital we must follow strict federally mandated guidelines on what can – and cannot – be used in a hospital setting, especially personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles. Most donations may indeed qualify in one setting or another here at the hospital.
For example, N95 masks have been donated, but must meet specific fit standards for use in clinical areas of the hospital. Most may be deployed to other areas of the hospital. We still have to set restrictions.
- Must be certified by NIOSH as N95
- Masks/respirators can be either for healthcare or industrial use (CDC has approved the use of industrial N95 in healthcare settings)
- We can only accept full, unopened boxes
- Must be within the expiration date
- Must be from a certified manufacturer
- Must be FDA approved
Other donations are being accepted as well, including:
- Clorox/bleach wipes
- Pump hand sanitizers
- Non-latex gloves ONLY
- We can only accept full, unopened boxes of any donation
- Must be within the expiration date
- Reminder: non-latex gloves ONLY
Handmade masks and cloth scrub hats
Perhaps the biggest outpouring is an effort from individuals and community groups to make handmade cloth face masks, as well as cloth scrub hats. These items will not meet clinical-use standards primarily because of the specific design and material mandated to provide appropriate protection. However, these items do have value.
Before making any either masks or hats, please ask yourself these questions:
- Have you been in contact with anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
- Do you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath?
If you answer "yes" to either questions, we ask that you do not make any masks or hats. If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath and have a concern that you may have COVID-19, please call your primary care provider.
We will accept these donations and then evaluate best use. They may be used to supplement other protective gear, or may be offered to staff as a layer of protection in non-clinical or reduced patient-facing areas of the hospital. Most importantly, the appropriate use of these donated masks will help us reduce demands on our PPE supplies that are needed in direct patient care.
In short, all donations are truly appreciated and most, if not all, will be accepted.
To donate items, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will work with you to identify a convenient drop off day/time.
Food Donations and non-essential supplies
As far as food donations or other non-essential supplies, please consider the Saratoga Community Health Center’s food pantry and other community organizations dedicated to the underserved and those who may need extra help during this crisis.
Please share the email@example.com email address, or use it to ask questions or offer suggestions. We may not be able to directly respond to every message, but will do our very best to be as responsive as we can be.
Again, thank you for thinking of us. We are so grateful for your kindness, and it truly makes a difference to our staff and those we serve.