All posts by J. Dewey

Orange County Recommends Everyone Wear Masks Indoors

Provider Blog by Dr. Avi Silber, MD, FAAP, Chief Medical Officer

In the past month, Orange County has continued to experience a significant increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta Variant. As of August 8, 2021, Orange County’s transmission rate was classified as HIGH by the CDC. In June, the county was labeled as MODERATE, and at the end of July we were at SUBSTANTIAL. Given the aggressive rise in cases of COVID-19, Orange County Department of Health is now recommending ALL PERSONS wear a mask when indoors in public.

Nationally and locally, the majority of severely ill, hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. Breakthrough cases in vaccinated people do happen, but they are much less common. The vaccine is doing what it is supposed to—preventing hospitalization, severe disease, and death.

Only 50% of Orange County residents are fully vaccinated, which leaves our community vulnerable. Our medical staff are also seeing more cases in younger, healthier people. Please continue to talk to your friends and families about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you, your friends, or your family would like to speak with a provider to discuss their concerns or would like to sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a Cornerstone Family Healthcare location, please call 845-563-8000.

A few more COVID-19 vaccine updates:

• CDC has recommended all pregnant women get vaccinated based on new data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more.

• The CDC will likely approve a booster shot of Pfizer and Moderna shortly. The boosters will be for those who are immunocompromised. Specifically, they are targeting organ transplant patients. The final list will likely include other immunocompromised diagnoses and parameters. Cornerstone will keep you informed as this evolves.

Please don’t hesitate to talk to your medical provider with any questions, remember to wear your masks and stay well.

June Is Men’s Health Month

Celebrated each year during June, Men’s Health Month brings awareness to the health issues all men face. The month is dedicated to enriching men’s health and wellness by raising awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

Did you know that men are less likely than women to go to the doctor? It’s true! In fact, studies show that women go to the doctor twice as much as men.

Even if you don’t feel sick, if it important to see your doctor regularly and schedule age-appropriate screenings. These simple steps can improve your health and reduce premature death and disability. That’s why now is a great time for men to schedule an annual checkup with their doctor.

We encourage all men—young and old— to see their doctors, practice routine prevention tips (including how to improve heart health), eat well , exercise, and seek help for substance use disorder and/or mental health issues.

One way to stay strong and take care of those who are important to you is to take care of yourself.

Contact Cornerstone Family Healthcare for any of your healthcare needs: 845-563-8000. We look forward to caring for you.

Mask Mandate Update

New York State adopted the CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated people for most businesses and public settings earlier this week. However, the guidelines recommend that masks still be worn in healthcare settings.

Cornerstone Family Healthcare requires all patients and visitors to wear a mask in our facilities. Our staff will continue to wear masks, too.

Our highest priority is the health of our patients, clients and staff. Until the CDC and New York State update their guidelines, our mask policy will remain in place.

CDC Updates Mask Guidelines for Vaccinated Patients; Going Maskless Outdoors OK In Most Scenarios

As of April 27, 2021, CDC updated its Guiding Principles for Fully Vaccinated People, including the use of masks in outdoor settings. People are considered fully vaccinated if they are two or more weeks past their two-shot vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) or their one-shot vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

According to the CDC: “Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues.”

Key points of the updated guidelines are:

Outdoor visits and activities pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people themselves or to those around them.

Small, private gatherings and visits to public indoor spaces likely represent minimal risk to fully vaccinated people. Therefore, the level of precautions taken should be determined by the characteristics of the unvaccinated people present, who remain unprotected against COVID-19.

Although the risk of COVID-19 infection may be minimal to the fully vaccinated person themselves, vaccinated persons should be mindful of the very low potential risk of transmitting the virus to others if they become infected, especially if they are visiting with unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or visiting with unvaccinated people who have people at increased risk for severe disease in their own households.

In indoor public spaces, the vaccination status of other people or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is likely unknown. Therefore, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a well-fitted mask, cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance.

Fully vaccinated people should not visit or attend a gathering or visit public settings if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status of the other people at the gathering.

Fully vaccinated people should continue to follow any applicable state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

Although the risk of COVID-19 infection among fully vaccinated people is likely low, the following could increase risk:

  • A moderate, substantial, or high level of community transmission
  • Settings with a higher percentage of unvaccinated people (including children) present or people at risk of severe COVID-19 disease
  • Visits to indoor settings especially with poor ventilation
  • The length of the visit, especially if indoors
  • Crowding or when there is a decreased ability to maintain physical distance
  • Activities that involve behaviors such as singing, shouting, physical exertion or heavy breathing, inability to wear a mask, or inability to maintain physical distancing
We will provide more information as it becomes available. For specific questions regarding your health and vaccine safety, please contact your health care provider. For more COVID-19 news, visit this page.

CDC and FDA OK Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine After Temporary Pause

April 25, 2021 – CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine resume in the United States, after a temporary pause. Read the full CDC update here.

From the CDC:

“Reports of adverse events following the use of J&J/Janssen vaccine suggest an increased risk of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. A review of all available data at this time shows that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.

However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen. CDC and FDA will continue to monitor the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.

Seek medical care right away if you develop any of these symptoms after receiving the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.”

  • Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site

We will provide more information as it becomes available. For specific questions regarding your health and vaccine safety, please contact your health care provider.

Get more COVID-19 news here.

Cornerstone Family Healthcare Opens New WIC Site in Harriman

Cornerstone Family Healthcare announced that it has assumed operation of the New York State Women, Infants and Children (WIC) care site in Harriman, NY. WIC is a Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) that strives to improve the health and nutrition of pregnant women, new mothers and their children.

“Pregnancy and early childhood are among the most important times for growth and development,” shared Monica Bernard-Thompson, Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s WIC Program Director. “Cornerstone’s WIC team is here to support and safeguard the health of mothers and their kids through a variety of programs.”

WIC provides income eligible women and children free healthy food and services, including breastfeeding support, nutrition counseling, health education, health care referrals, referrals to other services.

The New York State WIC Program is available to pregnant women, infants or children up to five years old, mothers of children up to six months old, and breastfeeding mothers of babies up to 12 months old. To qualify, a recipient must be a resident of New York State (citizenship is not required), meet income eligibility guidelines or receive SNAP, Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and be assessed by a WIC professional.

Cornerstone’s new WIC office is located at 33 NY 17-M, Harriman, NY 10926. Cornerstone operates four additional WIC sites in Newburgh, Middletown, Port Jervis and Highland Falls. WIC offers friendly, bilingual services and convenient hours including early mornings, late nights and one Sunday morning each month.

Interested individuals and families can call (845) 568-5473 to make an appointment. Information and access to the application can be found at: