Saying ‘thank you’ to the staff at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists in Riverhead

A simple ‘thank you.’

That was the message conveyed during a small caravan of cars passing by the New York Cancer & Blood Specialists in Riverhead Friday.

The center, which opened in January, serves as an enclosed, one-stop treatment facility for cancer patients.

Cancer patients — many of whom are immunocompromised — are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

According to the NYCB website, anyone entering their facilities is asked a series of screening questions and all patients have their temperature taken. If deemed appropriate, patients are also given a mask to wear inside as they receive treatment.

The health care provider also changed their visitor policy across all NYCBS locations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are currently requesting that patients attend appointments alone whenever possible. If a companion is needed for the safety of the patient, please limit this to 1 person. Visitors will no longer be allowed in the treatment area. Whenever possible, companions/family members are asked to refrain from waiting in our patient waiting areas and instead should wait in their cars in an effort to reduce crowding and maintain appropriate social distancing,” read a statement on their website.

Elisabeth Devaney, a nurse at the Riverhead location, described being on the front lines as challenging, but said they need to be there for their patients. Though she wasn’t working a shift Friday afternoon, she was one of the first in line to drive by, waving to her colleagues to show support.

“I work with the most intelligent, compassionate, generous, selfless kind and loving people I have ever met. We just want to show them how much they are appreciated.”