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COVID-19 Update for St. Mary’s General Hospital

(Courtesy of St. Mary’s General Hospital) March 30 is National Doctor’s Day in the U.S., and this year we need to honor our physicians even more for the tireless effort they and all healthcare staff have expended during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is their hard work and devotion that keeps all of us healthy and on this day we thank them for doing that for us and our loved ones. This holiday can be traced back to March 30, 1933 when Doctor’s Day was first observed. It was celebrated on March 30 to honor Dr. Crawford W. Long, who used an ether anesthetic for the first time during surgery in 1842. Medicine has come a long way, and we still have a lot to learn, as evidenced by COVID-19 and our hope for a cure. Doctors, we thank you and all healthcare workers for everything that you do for us now and always.

If any doctor, nurse or other healthcare worker would be kind enough to come out of retirement and volunteer at St. Mary’s General Hospital, it would be greatly appreciated.

St. Mary’s General Hospital, like all hospitals, has its share of COVID-19 patients and a large influx of patients coming to the emergency room. The hospital set up triage tents outside the ER to facilitate the patient flow and to prevent contamination. The good news is that the latest tests sent to the state were completed in a day as opposed to the five-to-seven-day waiting period.

Staff is working beyond what should be expected to help care for patients stricken with this virus. Add to that, the critical shortage of personal protective equipment, such as N-95 masks and gowns, and their work is made all the more challenging.

It must also be emphasized that the normal routine of the hospital is still in progress; non-COVID-19 related healthcare services such as OB/GYN, cardiology, oncology and more are operating as usual with patients in safe, sterile environments.

Many staff members are not going home. They are instead staying at hotels locally where they can catch up on much-needed sleep and not worry about contaminating their family.

“In one family that I know in our community, the father is a doctor and one of the daughters is a hospital nurse,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, Consultant and Community Liaison for St. Mary’s General Hospital. “When they each come home, they undress in the garage, then go and shower completely and change into clean clothes before interacting with other family members. Their clothes from work are then washed separately. This is not a bad practice for all healthcare workers to follow.”

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

St. Mary’s General, like all hospitals, need PPE, which includes gloves, masks, gowns and ventilators. The hospital has been fortunate to be able to obtain PPE, but the supplies dwindle quickly. This week N-95s are supposed to be coming in from companies manufacturing in China who altered their facilities to manufacture PPE.

Last week “Superman,” otherwise known as Phillip Stafford from the N.J. Food & Clothing Rescue, came to St. Mary’s General to donate 2,000 gloves for the staff. Mr. Stafford was wearing a Superman cape1[1]. Across the nation, PPE for healthcare workers is in short supply. This donation will help keep our staff and patients safe during the COVID-19 crisis, and we wish to thank Mr. Stafford and the N.J. Food & Rescue organization.

Today, protective gowns, N95 masks and ventilators are needed and donations will be much appreciated.

We were honored to have Passaic Mayor Hector Lora visit our hospital to interview CEO Edward J. Condit for the Mayor’s Facebook page.2[2] Mayor Lora and Mr. Condit did adhere to social distancing and emphasized that people do the same if they must leave their homes. In the interview, Mr. Condit indicated that St. Mary’s General is not a testing center.

“We have added triage tents by our Emergency Rooms,” said Mr. Condit. “If a person is feeling ill, they should call their doctor. If they have a fever and are experiencing shortness of breath, they should come to the E.R. If they are admitted we will test for coronavirus. This is the standard policy for all hospitals.”

In answer to the Mayor’s question about staffing, Mr. Condit replied, “Staff is a concern with us, like it is with all hospitals. As part of the Prime Healthcare network, we can have staff moved from other hospitals in our 45-hospital network. We are also working with the government looking for staff to help during this crisis. Staffing is adequate right now, but we are carefully monitoring everything.”

As a final question, Mayor Lora asked if pregnant women or other patients can come to the hospital, and Mr. Condit replied, “Yes, our OB/GYN, cardiology, oncology and all other departments are open and serving the community. And with the procedures that we have in place, there should be no fear about contracting coronavirus at St. Mary’s General Hospital.”

For additional information or a tour of the hospital contact the community liaison, George Matyjewicz, at [email protected]

(We at the Jewish Link of New Jersey respectfully request for our readers to pray and daven for all of the patients and staff at St. Mary’s Hospital)

1[1] https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral/photos/pb.123439889618.-22 0752 0000../10160690514504619/?type=3&theater

2[2] https://www.facebook.com/HCLora/videos/3084676524889739/UzpfSTU4Njg5NjIzNDcyMTY5ODoyODQ2Njg1MTI1NDA5NDUz/

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