“It’s rewarding to know your job is essential, but it’s scary knowing you could be exposed to the virus while working,” said Evan Greene, physical therapist and owner of New York Physical Therapy in Valley Stream. “Working during this pandemic has been very challenging … We have been as careful as we can to be safe.”
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Greene’s outpatient facility has required employees and patients to wear masks, and upon entering the building, every patient has their temperature taken to check for signs of infection. The staff also wipes down and disinfects all surfaces in the building throughout each workday.
“We’ve had to social distance ourselves and not use as many beds in the facility,” he said of limiting crowds. “We have also adopted a new telehealth program, which allows patients to be seen for appointments over video cameras using technology.”
Greene, who oversees a staff of 15 employees, while also personally seeing patients for physical therapy appointments, said that patient volume is down with fear of infection keeping some away. As a result he has had to make staff cuts, and hopes that more patients will take advantage of New York Physical Therapy’s telehealth services, which allow for remote treatment and sessions.
“My job now requires me to take over certain staff member jobs to compensate for the staff who cannot come or because of volume decrease,” Greene said. “The main problem with the new telehealth program is that many of our patients are over 65 and they are not tech savvy, and therefore many of them have requested to resume treatment after the pandemic.”
Although Greene said he thinks the severity of the pandemic caught him, like by many surprise, he hopes for a return to normal.
“The shocking thing about the pandemic is that people who you don’t think would get the virus, end up getting it and the way that each person is impacted in a different way. It’s also shocking how fast the pandemic transpired,” he said. “We don’t have an idea on how to gauge the virus, but, I certainly hope that all the numbers of cases start to drop, things can go back to normal and that a vaccine is on the horizon.”