The first time Linda Rivera came to Port Jefferson was in an ambulance. The Valley Stream resident had been sick for a couple of weeks. She first reached out to providers in her own community, but when her symptoms got worse, she went to an urgent care center which told her to go to the hospital.

“I was at North Shore Valley Stream and they were overwhelmed with patients. There were people everywhere,” Mrs. Rivera said. “After a few hours they told me I was going to be transferred to another hospital. That’s how I ended up at Mather.”

With the hospitals in Nassau and Queens being overcome with COVID-19 patients, Northwell Health arranged for some patients to be transferred to less stressed hospitals to the east. To date Mather has accepted 94 transfer patients.

“From the second I got there the staff was wonderful. I was a patient on 3 South. There was one nurse, Pat, who said she had been a nurse for 15 years. Pat told me she knew it was hard for patients with the visiting hours suspended. She told me to call her if I needed anyone to talk to. Another nurse Maryann was wonderful too. All the nurses were true angels,” said Mrs. Rivera.

“I am very grateful and thankful I ended up at Mather. If something happened to me again, I would go back.”