Queens COVID-19 Daily Update 03/24/2020

mt. sinai
Queens man John Giarratano has been sick with the coronavirus since roughly March 6 and is still not fully recovered. credit: Homieg340, Wikimedia Commons

Queens man moved to special care unit after having COVID-19 for weeks

Queens native John Giarratano was moved from a hospital in Long Island to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan to be in a special care unit.

Giarratano hadn’t been able to get diagnosed with coronavirus for two weeks after first developing a fever, which he sustained for multiple days. More than one medical center turned him away when he came in to be seen.

He first developed the fever on March 6, and by March 9 he was still running a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. By March 11, his fever was over 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

On March 12, his partner, Brian Zupanick, took Giarratano to an Urgent Care clinic in Howard Beach, where the physicians said that he might have had the flu or pneumonia. Up until this point he had had no respiratory issues, but that night Giarratano began having trouble breathing.

The next day, March 13, they went to Oceanside’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where it was confirmed that Giarratano had pneumonia. He still had his fever. 

The hospital gave him a COVID-19 test, the results of which were supposed to come back on March 16. Due to complications — including that his test was sent to a lab in North Carolina by the New Jersey lab Mount Sinai had been using — Giarratano’s results didn’t come back until March 19. 

They were positive. By that point, he had already been put on a ventilator on March 15 and was beginning treatment. Giarratano was eventually given Remdesivir, a drug originally used for Ebola.

On March 21, he was moved to a special care unit in Manhattan’s Mount Sinai and remains on the ventilator.

“He’s holding and not getting any worse,” Zupanick told Pix11 News. “I’m just staying positive and praying for him. He’s on every prayer group I could get him on. And I’m also praying for all the brave doctors and nurses that are on the front lines with this — and all the other patients like John.”

Read more about this in these articles: Pix11 News Original Story, Pix11 News Update

New COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of Aqueduct Racetrack

Jamaica’s Aqueduct Racetrack for horse races and betting is now the home of a new COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, testing site, located in its parking lot.

The site is a SOMOS NY Health Testing Center facility being conducted outdoors, similarly to the outdoor testing sites recently implemented at both Queens General and Elmhurst Hospitals.

“Many of my constituents are relieved to learn that a coronavirus testing site has opened at the Aqueduct Racetrack parking lot,” State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D- Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, the Rockaways) said. “It is in times of emergency that we come together to help others, and this is why I appreciate the provider SOMOS, the city and the Port Authority for working towards making this site available. We must increase the number of testing sites if we are to identify those in need of medical attention and to credibly reduce the spread of this fatal virus.”

Patients are only supposed to use the site if they have already met with or talked to a physician and have a prescription for a coronavirus test. 

Otherwise, people who think they have the virus are encouraged to contact their doctors or call 311 for more information. People can also read SOMOS NY at 883-SOMOSNY.

This new site was only possible thanks to the indefinite suspension of racing that has freed up the racetrack and its parking lot. The New York Racing Association made the suspension after a racetrack worker from Belmont Park was confirmed to have COVID-19.

The worker has been quarantined at home with his roommate. The aqueduct is only open for operational training.

Read more about this in this article: Queens Courier

Juror from the Queens Supreme Court tested positive for COVID-19

A fifth person, this time a juror, has tested positive for the coronavirus after spending time in the Queens Supreme Courthouse’s Civil Term building.

This most recent case was confirmed yesterday in an email to court staff. The juror had been serving on a personal injury case that lasted from Feb. 27 to March 19.

She had been present every day until she called out for the final day of the trial because she felt sick. The juror self-reported her case to the court, according to Office of Court Administration spokesperson Lucian Chalfen.

The other four coronavirus cases related to the borough’s Supreme Court are a judge, a court officer, a senior court clerk and a court attorney in the Queens County Clerk’s Office.

The court is proceeding with all civil and criminal trials that are already open, but will not be trying new cases during this time, according to a New York Unified Court System memorandum.

Read more about this in this article: Queens Daily Eagle, New York Unified Court System Memorandum

CUNY Queens College donates supplies as its case count rises to three

Queens College

CUNY’s Queens College, located in Kew Gardens Hills, has announced that it now has three confirmed cases among students, prompting the school to close all of its buildings from March 19 through March 22.

The campus is now open again, though only on a limited basis and students are participating in New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s distance learning program. The buildings were all sanitized since the confirmed cases were announced.

“We learned today of two positive coronavirus cases in our community,” the college’s Interim President, William Tramontano, said in an update to students. “One is an alumnus who last visited the Music Building on Wednesday, March 11. He was asymptomatic at the time but developed symptoms on Saturday. The other, a student who was last on campus on Monday, March 9, attending class in Powdermaker Hall. The student started having symptoms on Thursday, March 12.”

The college has since realized another student case of coronavirus.

Amid the college’s own cases, however, the Queens College School of Mathematics and Sciences donated a whole host of Personal Protective Equipment for the city’s medical and essential workers.

The donation included “N-95 masks, 30 unopened cases of disposable nitrile gloves, disposable lab coats and bottles of 70% isopropyl alcohol,” according to a post on the college’s website. 

“A simply brilliant and swift move by the Queens College community,” Interim Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee said. “In a crisis, every minute counts, and frontline workers have been working around the clock to stem the tide. Thank you, Queens College, for stepping up with such haste and compassion, and for this immediate assist.  We hope this inspires similar actions throughout Queens. Against COVID-19, every effort helps bend the curve and will save precious lives. We can make a bigger impact against the curve if we act together and act now.”

Read more about this in these articles: Queens College Coronavirus Updates, Queens College