July 24 2020 Update on COVID-19 for the Fountain House Community

Posted on July 24, 2020

Fountain House continues to monitor the status of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic so we can share vital information with our community and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months. We understand that this crisis strikes directly at the heart of our model that is built on social connection, and we have had to make difficult decisions quickly to protect the health and safety of our members, staff, partners and supporters, as well as the wider NYC community.

Heat Advisories

This summer we have been experiencing record high temperatures and humidity.  It is extremely important for you to be mindful of how the heat can affect you. Below are recommendations on how to take care of yourself, and avoid heat related illnesses during a heat wave. 

  • Please keep hydrated - drink plenty of water even when you are not thirsty. 
  • Avoid being outside or in the sun.
  • If you can, stay indoors with air conditioning. If you do not have air conditioning, NYC has Cooling Centers in each borough. Use the city’s Cooling Center Finder to look for a location  near you. Please be mindful that social distancing and mask wearing practices are still in effect.
  • If you do need to go outdoors, avoid prolonged  physical activity and make sure to wear sunscreen and have water with you at all times.
  • If you have pets, do not leave them outside or in the car.  Make sure they have water and a cool place to reside. 
  • Avoid using the stove and oven to cook, as it will make your living space warmer.
  • Take cool baths and showers.
  • If you have children, please make sure they are following the same precautions listed here. Do not leave them in the car or outside, dress them lightly, avoid going outside, make sure they are staying hydrated, and are spending their time in an air conditioned space.  
  • Head to the CDC’s website to review the signs of heat related illnesses, (like heat stroke and heat exhaustion), as well as what to do if you experience  symptoms. In case of an emergency, call 911. 

Continuing Member Supports

  • Meds, Money and Mail deliveries can be coordinated through Stephanie Everett or your unit worker. Call 212-582-0340 or go to Slack channel Chat_Bank
  • The new Warm-line number is 917-795-8309. Calls made to the old warmline number will be forwarded to the new one.​ Please note that the Warm-line is not available Monday thru Friday between 9am and 5pm. Please call the mainline (212-582-0341) during these times to connect with your unit.

Coronavirus Testing

  • City MD currently offers two forms of coronavirus testing - the PCR (Nasal Swab Test)  and the Serum Antibody IgG (Antibody Blood Test).
  • These tests are FREE under the CARES act and are offered at all City MD locations
  • For more information on testing qualifications please reference this page.

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are asked to self-quarantine, there is a guide attached to this letter.

For the most up-to-date resources, information and guidance on the coronavirus epidemic, please consult the following resources:




Lastly, please beware of predatory practices. If strangers come to your door claiming to provide COVID-19 tests, claiming they are from the CDC or any other COVID-19 related services, do not interact with them.  Scammers are also making unsolicited calls to set up testing - this is NOT an official means of setting up testing. Please contact your doctor, local CityMD or Urgent Care to set up testing.




Ashwin Vasan, M.D., PhD

President and CEO, Fountain House

Assistant Professor, Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University


Ralph Aquila, M.D.

Medical Director and Director of the Center for Leadership and Education, Fountain House

Director, HRH/Brightpoint Health Sidney R. Baer Jr. Center


Craig Bayer

Member, Fountain House


Bianca Ortiz

Member, Fountain House


How to protect yourself during Coronavirus/COVID-19 

Our best line of defense to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 is social distancing and maintaining vigilant hygiene practices.

  • Maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others outside of your Household.
  • Stay at home as much as possible. Minimize contact with people outside of the immediate members of your household, especially when traveling outside for basic needs like food and medicine.
  • Make sure to practice good hygiene before you leave your home, and when you return. If you go out wear a cloth mask or scarf covering your nose and mouth tightly. Wash them regularly with hot water and soap/detergent.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on all sides, or use an alcohol-based (minimum 70% alcohol) hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, cloth or sleeve when sneezing or coughing—do not use your hands.
  • Do not touch your face or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share food, drink or eating utensils with others.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces, such as phones, computers, bathrooms and doorknobs.
  • If you are a smoker, stop using or limit cigarettes and vaping. If you need help quitting, individuals can call the New York State Smokers Quitline at 866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487).
  • Besides these steps, it is important to maintain healthy eating, exercise, and previously necessary medical support. If you need support accessing food and medications, please contact your worker and we will arrange for assistance. 

Self-Quarantine Member Support

  • Fountain House is committed to providing much-needed support to members who are quarantined during the COVID-19 outbreak. Fountain House knows that quarantines will be especially difficult for our members.
  • Staff/members will engage in assertive reach-out and have up-to-date information on the COVID-19 protocols for at-risk members. Coordinated by the Units & Silver Center.
  • We will have a virtual community using WebEx during normal programming hours for people to communicate and receive supports. Supported and coordinated by the Media & Technology Center.
  • Members without technological access to WebEx will be able to borrow Cricket phones to access the clubhouse during the period of their quarantine. Coordinated by Media & Technology Center.
  • Reach Out notes on Self Quarantined members will be reviewed by the Program Director to determine if they may return or if there is a need for greater medical intervention and support.
  • Self-quarantined members will have access to greater warm-line services even after hours. This will be coordinated by Residential staff.
  • Self-Quarantined members will also receive a cleaning kit with easy to follow instructions. This will be coordinated by Home & Garden (and delivered via Jack Rabbit).
  • Fountain House will create a Clinical Support Team to provide emergency counseling and prescription medication support for those in Quarantine. This will be coordinated by Dr. Ralph Aquila.
  • Self-Quarantined members will receive a list of supports available for the duration of their quarantine.


Awards + Recognition

BBB Accredited Charity

Our Global Partners

World Health Organization

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