Pandemic Puts WTC Health Program's Monitoring Efforts On Hold

Peter Haskell
June 16, 2020 - 3:50 pm

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) —  The coronavirus pandemic has put the World Trade Center Health Program’s monitoring efforts on pause, but social distance protocols may allow it to reopen this summer.

    One mission of the program is to catch illnesses early, but the pandemic has meant routine diagnostic tests have been delayed.

    “It was a tricky diagnostic time to be taking care of patients," says Dr. Michael Crane, medical director of the World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai.

    For the past three months, patients continued to receive treatments and the program has been relying on virtual checkups.

    "While we continue to use telemed, it may be time for that colonoscopy, it may be time to get that chest CT scan," says Crane. “You can let things slip a little bit. But we’re coming up now to the point where we have to get back on track."

    He expects in-patient appointments to resume in July or August.

    Crane insists the proper social distance protocols will be practiced ensuring the safety of all.

    "We're going to be waltzing through practicing this for probably weeks at this point just to make sure that we have it right and people will feel safe when they come," Crane said.

    Patients with pre-existing 9/11 conditions are medically compromised and vulnerable to COVID-19.

    The number of 9/11 patients that had died form COVID-19 is unclear, but it’s believed to be in the dozens.

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