The Latest Updates from Saratoga Hospital
Visitation & Hospital Access Policies
We understand and respect families and friends wanting to visit patients who have been admitted to Saratoga Hospital. However, as we all confront the challenges of COVID-19 and the necessary precautions to keep our patients and staff safe, we currently are discouraging visitation. 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.
When the patient care team believes visitation is beneficial to the patient’s care and well-being, our current policy does allow for limited in-person visitation with patients on the general medical and intensive care units. Due to ongoing public health concerns, we cannot allow every patient to have visitors.
Patient Visitation Criteria
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
Guidelines for Visitation
- 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 will be limited to one approved designated visitor per day
- We will continue to provide compassionate exceptions on a case-by-case basis
- Masks must be worn by visitors at all times while on hospital property
- 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 screened upon entering the building
- 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; access will be managed by the department’s care team:
- Emergency Department
- Compassionate exceptions made on a case-by-case basis
- Mental Health Unit
- No visitation on this unit.
- Mother-Baby Unit
- Limited to father of the baby (FOB), partner, or designated support person.
- Pre and post-procedural areas
- Compassionate exceptions made on a case-by-case basis and arranged during a patient’s pre-procedure phone call
- Radiation Oncology Center (ROC)
- Limited to one support person at the time of initial consultation.
Details for these separate guidelines are available on our website, SaratogaHospital.org or by calling 518-587-3222.
Saratoga Hospital reserves the right to modify this policy. Visitation rights can be rescinded at any time.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to keep our patients, staff, and our community safe.
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 September 23, 2020
- You can also call the New York State hotline to register for a vaccination appointment.
- Hotline: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829)
- Open 7 AM - 10 PM every day for eligible New Yorkers to schedule an appointment
- You must have an appointment. Please do not how up at any vaccination site without an appointment.
- As of January 11, 2021, New Yorkers in Phase 1a and segments of Phase 1b are eligbile for COVID19 vaccines. Full details of who is currently eligible can be found here.
The plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine is directed by the New York State Department of Health. The state plan includes when, where and who will have access to the vaccine. The plan is a priority system based on specific risk factors, and is in its first phase of rolling out the vaccine. As of today, Saratoga Hospital has been designated by the state to only vaccine its staff and local medical practices.
We have not been provided any additional information about access and timing for the broader community. At this time we anticipate community vaccination will be managed by each county, as directed by New York State. Our current understanding is that Saratoga Hospital and this practice will not be designated for vaccinating our patients.
Here is a website that may be helpful: New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine
Saratoga Hospital will also update information on our website when it becomes available to us. We understand your concern and when available, we do encourage you to get the vaccine.
To support our county effort, vaccine-experienced volunteers are needed to help dispense the COVID-19 vaccine. Albany Med's vaccine information page that outlines the criteria for volunteering, including a telephone contact for Saratoga County. Please share this information with anyone who qualifies and wants to help in this effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the vaccine safe?
A: Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized and approved for use by the FDA, medical professionals and a New York State independent advisory task force. Both currently available vaccines are 95% effective. There may be some minor side effects. They are signs that the body’s immune response and the vaccine are both working. The vaccine is also safe for people with underlying health conditions. You are more likely to become ill without the vaccine.
Q: How is it determined who gets the vaccine and when?
A: New York State has formed a task force comprised of experts in public health, immunizations, government operations, data and other fields relevant to vaccine distribution and administration. This task force is advising on the operation of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program. The CDC also has issued guidelines that outline tiered distribution of the vaccine. As soon as more detailed information is available about how, when and where members of our community can receive the vaccine, we will post it on this site.
Read more about tiered distribution
Q: Who is paying for the vaccine?
A: Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost.
Q: How many doses of vaccine do I need?
A: Two. You need an initial dose and a booster dose to have the full effect of the vaccine. The booster dose is given 19-23 days (Pfizer) or 26-30 days (Moderna) after the initial dose. The brand of your first dose will be the brand of your second.
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: I had COVID already. Do I need a vaccine?
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: Does it make a difference whether I receive the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine?
A: Not at this time. The recommendation is that you receive whichever vaccine is available to you when it’s your turn to be vaccinated. Both vaccines are 95% effective, and both have similar side effects. The brand of your first dose will be the brand of your second.
Q: Can I get COVID from the vaccine?
A: No. This is not possible. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live virus that causes COVID-19. According to the CDC, the vaccines are designed to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this can cause symptoms, such as fever shortly after receiving the vaccine or the booster. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity, according to the CDC. Learn more from the CDC about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
Q: Can the COVID vaccine alter my DNA?
A: No, it cannot. According to the CDC, mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
Q: Who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: At this time, eligible New Yorkers in Phase 1A and 1B may receive the vaccine, including those with underlying health conditions and those who are immunocompromised.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people aged 16 and older. The Moderna vaccine is approved for people aged 18 and older. No exceptions.
The CDC provides a wealth of information on COVID-19 vaccines and allergic reactions. Research is currently underway to gauge safety and effectiveness in children. This is yet another reason why all eligible adults should be vaccinated. It helps protect people who currently cannot receive the vaccine, including children.
Q: Do I need to wear a mask when I am being vaccinated?
A: Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: Do I need to wear a mask and social distance once I receive two doses of vaccine?
A: For now, yes. Until we reach a point where community transmission of COVID-19 wanes or disappears, it will be important for everyone to continue using the tools available to us to help stop the pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing your hands often, and staying at least six feet away from other people.
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 70-90% vaccination rate, and life can return to normal. The good news is that 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
COVID-19 testing must be ordered by a healthcare provider or your county health department.
If you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms, or may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, do not go to any healthcare location. Instead, please call your provider.
When you call, a healthcare professional will assess your symptoms. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be directed to a testing site per your provider or your county public health department.
The coronavirus (COVID 19) landscape is changing every day. At Saratoga Hospital, we are vigilant and cautious, sensitive to patient and staff safety, and community concerns. Our medical staff is fully informed and engaged on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) clinical criteria for COVID-19. These criteria are incorporated into all patient evaluations, when indicated.
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.
If you do not have a provider order, we can provide one via a telehealth visit. We encourage you to call or schedule a telehealth visit at one of the websites below:
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.
Your Health & Safety Come FirstIf your healthcare provider says you need to come to Saratoga Hospital, you can be confident that we are going above and beyond to keep you safe. In fact, because of all the precautions we’re taking, Saratoga Hospital is one of the safest places in our community.
Here’s how we’re protecting you and our team.
Emergency Department visits:
- We screen every patient at the door by taking their temperature and asking about symptoms and possible virus exposure.
- Anyone who has symptoms is immediately isolated from other patients.
- Every patient receives a mask.
- Every patient is taken to their own, separate, enclosed room, with sliding glass doors.
- All patient care staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
- No visitors are allowed. (For details, see our visitation policy.) Anyone who comes with a patient is asked to wait outside or in their vehicle while we provide the necessary care.
- We are constantly cleaning and disinfecting patient care areas.
Surgeries and other procedures:
- Three days before your procedure, we will test you for COVID-19. If you are positive, unless it is urgent, your procedure will be delayed until you test negative.
- The day of your procedure, be sure to wear a mask from home. We will meet you at the entrance, check your temperature, and ask screening questions, including whether you’ve had symptoms or been exposed to COVID-19 since your test.
- In pre-op, social distancing and masks help keep you safe. Curtains between patient bays provide privacy and additional protection.
- Staff members are required to wear masks to enter the hospital. Staff also are screened daily. We take their temperature every day and ask them the same screening questions we ask patients.
- Everyone on our surgical team wears surgical gowns, masks, and hats.
- After your procedure, you will be taken to a patient bay in our post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). Each PACU bay is 10 feet by 10 feet and surrounded by curtains that provide privacy and act as an additional protective barrier.
- If you will be staying overnight, you will be cared for by staff who are assigned only to that floor. They will not interact with COVID-positive patients.
- No visitors are allowed. (For details, see our visitation policy.)
- During your stay, staff will wear PPE, and you will be asked to wear a mask whenever a staff member enters your room. We also will ask you to wear a mask any time we move you from place to place, for example, from the PACU to your room or from your room to an imaging suite.
- When you are ready to be discharged, a staff member will take you to meet the family member or friend who has come to pick you up. You and the staff member will both be wearing masks.
- Before, during, and after your stay, we will continue to constantly clean and disinfect patient care areas.
We look forward to taking care of you and keeping you safe. If you have any questions about our safety precautions, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our team members or your healthcare provider.
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 the best emergent care for our critical patients. We are also seeing increasingly 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.