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Doctor: Elmhurst Residents Are Contracting COVID-19 at an Alarming Rate

Line for testing at Elmhurst Hospital (Photo: Queens Post)

March 26, 2020, By Michael Dorgan

Elmhurst has become the epicenter of the coronavirus with many residents being infected, according to a doctor who has worked at Elmhurst Hospital for 20 years and has dealt with a flood of patients this month.

The physician, who did not want to be named, said that the first patients to come down with coronavirus and go to the hospital reside in the immediate area.

She said that the hospital soon struggled to keep pace with the influx and most people carrying the virus were sent home because their life was not in danger. Furthermore, this started happening before the city shut down.

She said that many of the infected people would then walk the streets of Elmhurst– some without masks and gloves– and then return to their densely populated homes carrying the virus.

“An impending humanitarian crisis is about to happen in Elmhurst,” the doctor said. “The virus is absolutely rampant within the community and we have lines out the door of people who don’t feel well.”

The city has not released data pinpointing those neighborhoods hardest struck by the virus. Currently, the mayor’s office has only released data on a borough-wide basis despite multiple requests from many media outlets for this information.

Queens is the hardest-hit borough accounting for 92 out of New York City’s 281 deaths, according to New York City data released yesterday.

Elmhurst Hospital has become New York’s City’s ground zero in battling the deadly virus – with 13 patients dying there in a 24-hour span between Tuesday and Wednesday, officials said.

The doctor said that many Elmhurst residents live in cramped housing and it is nearly impossible for them to self-isolate or socially distance themselves from others. Additionally, some are not aware of the importance of social distancing in the first place.

“People are living in multigenerational units with lots of families of all ages crammed into small spaces,” she said. “If one family member is told to isolate…they really have nowhere to go.”

Therefore, an alarming number of Elmhurst residents have contracted the virus and are being treated at the hospital.

She said that about half of the patients seen at Elmhurst Hospital for viral symptoms are testing positive and only a small fraction of the community has been tested.

The doctor says that some Elmhurst residents are afraid to go to the hospital because of their immigration status, further exacerbating the problem.

The doctor is urging residents to heed to COVID-19 guidelines to help prevent the spread but feels the message is being lost due in part to language barriers.

She is appealing for the government to provide professional liaison officers to educate the population and to provide the entire community with masks and gloves.

“A mask doesn’t protect the person wearing it but it protects the other people from that person and so if every person wore a mask and gloves there would be a lot less of the disease,” she said.

“We don’t have the staff to cope with our in-patients but we need people like translators to get the message out to people, we don’t think the message is getting through,” she said.

NYC as of March 26, 5 p.m. (Source: NYC DOH)

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4 Comments

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Mac

Now will the city enforce the laws regarding illegal subdivisions code enforcement and flat out illegal living arrangements? Pandemics were the very reason for the passage of many of these laws. Enforcement has nothing to do with racism, these laws were passed when people of Europe ancestry lived in these houses in these communities. There is a reason for zoning laws no matter what AOC and Ramos say.

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Gardens Watcher

This doctor’s account should be a wake up call for us all. Yes, translators are needed, but I still see plenty of English-speaking people out and about every day —with their kids in tow no less — who should know better since all the warnings have been in English.

God bless the doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers who are doing a heroic job in our hospitals.

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Laura

Well i guess some stereotypes have some truth to them. But people like to label you as “racists” when you are not a minority and speak the truth out of concern or to promote change. He or she is basically saying what we have known for years about how certain communities live and the problem with undocumented immigrants but we get shut down for trying to talk about. The doctor should of spoken up a long time ago.

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Vera

All this will do is spread the virus to surrounding neighborhoods as people will get out of the Elmhurst area and go to other neighborhoods to shop and walk around. It is why the whole Tri-state area shut down. They did not want people traveling!

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