Message from Barbara Borsack
We live in a special place where neighbors help neighbors in times of need, where volunteers get up in the middle of the night to respond to a crisis, and where individuals and community groups rally to provide food and help to persons in need. This is the East Hampton I know and have been a part of all of my life. In this crisis we see it and many are a part of it once again.
This week I’ve seen local businesses taking care of the community, like Round Swamp Farms delivering baskets of food to some of our elderly friends who are dealing with isolation and difficulty securing supplies. I’m aware of a restaurant manager who has been laid off because of this crisis who is now volunteering to help get food to people in need. I saw the fisherman from Montauk who gave away his catch to people in the community who needed food.
I’ve devoted a good deal of my time as an adult volunteering to meet the needs of this community so I understand how important it is to reach out to each other and assist where needed. I’ve been a volunteer member of the East Hampton Ambulance Association since 1990. I’m a charter member of the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation and still serve on their board, and I’m in my third term as a member of the Board of Directors at Southampton Hospital where I’ve been a strong advocate for a 24/7 facility in East Hampton for Emergency care. I’m excited to see that dream coming to fruition as plans have been developed and funds are being raised now to see that become a reality in the next three years. In 2011 I founded the Southampton Hospital Ambassador program which uses volunteers to guide patients and visitors at the hospital by accompanying them to testing sites, answering questions and problem solving, and assisting staff with patient transports and errands of all sorts. So my concern for this community, its residents, and their medical needs is a lifelong one.
Those years involved with the medical community have taught me one thing: we have a top notch system of emergency services here on the East End, from patient care to transportation to our excellent emergency room at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. We are in good hands! The hospital has been busy creating new patient rooms and expanding their emergency room facilities for triage and bed space to face this unusual challenge. The Healthcare Center at Pantigo Place is working hard to accommodate walk-in patients as well as their regular patients. Our volunteer emergency services folks are answering every call with skill and care. Our hope is that we will weather this crisis without over taxing any of the professionals and volunteers who are here for you if you need them.
If you need help please call the new hot line set up by the hospital to answer questions and concerns at 631-638-1320. This line will be answered from 8am to midnight Monday through Friday. If you feel you need to be tested for COVID-19 you can call 1-888-364-3065.
Remember if you need to go to the emergency room and it is at all possible for family to drive you there, please find your own transportation. Speak to your healthcare provider first. If you need an ambulance there will be one to respond as long as we take care not to overtax our system and keep our providers well.
Remember not to congregate and practice social distancing! If you want to walk on the beach, do it – but stay away from others. We can do this as long as we are working together!
We are a strong, resilient community and we will weather this storm with everyone’s cooperation. Please – stay home, take care of yourselves, and be well!