Health Leaders Send Testing Reminders as Vaccines Emerge

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Yale New Haven Health on Friday announced they’re planning public vaccinations starting next week. The appointment website going live Friday afternoon.

“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for some time now as vaccine has become available,” said Dr. Richard Martinello, medical director of infection prevention for Yale New Haven Health.

Four vaccination locations are available for now: New London, North Haven, Old Saybrook and Trumbull. It follows a mass vaccination effort for employees.

“We’ve vaccinated about 25,000 people to date and many of them, thousands of them have already received their second vaccine,” said Martinello.

Yale New Haven Health is using “MyChart,” an electronic medical record system used by some healthcare providers including Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, who’s also offering vaccinations.

“We are actively reaching out all of our patients who are 75 and older to let them know the vaccine is available and we are ready to vaccinate them, but anybody, even if you’re not our patient, we are here to help vaccinate you,” said Dr. Mark Silvestri, chief medical officer for medicine and dental services.  

If you’re eligible, he says call to schedule an appointment and they’ll walk through the “MyChart” registration. It’s an app and website that allows patients to communicate with medical providers.

“The easiest way to schedule the appointment is calling us still because we have to go through several questions with you,” said Silvestri. He offered their number to sign up: 203-503-3000

Fair Haven Community Health Care is reaching out to patients because they know technology, transportation and language can be barriers.

“We’ve had our care coordination teams calling these folks over the last couple days, literally phone call by phone call making sure they have a ride in, making sure they have family that can get them into the office they understand what it is,” said Dr. Everett Lamm, VP of clinical affairs.  

They use the state’s VAMS registration system and have helped people preregister when needed.

“We’re hoping to get them right in, and we’ve got the days filled up with folks who are 75 and older because they’re highly vulnerable and deserving of the vaccine,” said Lamm.

While people wait for the vaccine, health officials remind people to continue COVID-19 testing.

“Interestingly we saw more around the Thanksgiving holiday than around the Christmas holiday so it’s certainly something we want to encourage people not to forget about it,” said Silvestri.

Walk up COVID tests are available at Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, and several other locations in New Haven.  A new drive-thru location by CIC Health opened on Sargent drive in January.

“New symptoms that might be a cold in this day and age it could be COVID. We do encourage you to come and get tested because the important of getting a test is if you’re positive you can avoid exposing other people,” said Silvestri.  

It’s a similar message we’ve heard for nearly a year: testing helps reduce exposure. It’s important for people to follow the same guidelines of masking, hand washing, social distance to help get the numbers back down.

In New Haven, the Fair Haven neighborhood has seen a spike in cases for the last several weeks.

Lamm says testing has remained steady at Fair Haven Community Health Care, where they moved walk-up testing to an indoor location on East Street. As they start vaccinations, he says they’re committed to keeping up testing.

“The way in which we’ll know that the vaccine is working appropriately is to see the number of folks getting vaccinated going up and the number of folks with the illness coming down,” said Lamm.  

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