Austen Riggs Center COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Alerts From the Austen Riggs Center.

There are numerous mental health resources related to COVID-19. Here are some that you may find helpful.   The organizations and outlets listed are among those providing accurate and updated information about COVID-19.

Dr. Nils Daulaire presented a Pandemics 101 webinar virtually. Click here to watch now.


Updated 08/04/20 

Dear members of the Austen Riggs Center Community:  

It has been some time since we’ve sent out an alert and I’m happy to say that it reflects the current stable conditions in Massachusetts and the region around it, as well as at the Center itself. As I reported in my last communication, we continue to have no patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. Also, there have been no additional cases beyond the two staff members who were diagnosed early in the pandemic and who have since recovered. 

Our success so far stems in large part from the fact that we have been extremely careful in our admissions policy of bringing in new patients under a strict procedure of COVID testing and quarantine. Thanks to the easing of restrictions in the New England states, plus New Jersey and New York, we adjusted quarantine standards in line with guidance from the governor and state health officials. For patients coming from New England, New Jersey and New York, the length of quarantine has been reduced from our previous mandatory 14 days to a shorter period determined by two negative test results for COVID-19. To ensure the safety of the Riggs community, patients transitioning to the residential program prior to completing a full 14-day quarantine will continue to be monitored twice daily for signs and symptoms of the virus for the full 14 days and are required to wear a medical-grade surgical mask at all times when outside their rooms. Patients traveling from high-risk areas OR with suspected or confirmed exposures to COVID-19 will join the full residential program only after verified completion of the 14-day quarantine AND two negative test results. 

During the quarantine period all new patients have remote access to a wide range of services, including individual psychotherapy, nursing, and other clinical meetings, groups, and therapeutic community programing. They also have the option of several outdoor quarantine breaks a day on the Riggs campus, using social distancing and other safety measures. 

To learn more, please visit our Admissions with Quarantine webpage. Should you have any questions not covered there, please feel free to contact the Center via the instructions below. 

As always, my thanks for your support and trust as we move forward in these challenging times. 

Be well,  

Eric M. Plakun, MD  
Medical Director/CEO  


Contact Information: 

Family members: Your social worker is your primary contact person. If that person is not available, please call the social work administrative assistant, Jessi Meagher, at 413.931.5202. 

Referring clinicians: Please call 1.800.517.4447.  

Media inquiries: Please call our Communications Office at 413.931.5245.  


Archived Updates

COVID-19 Update from the Medical Director/CEO of Austen Riggs - June 2020
2020.05.13 COVID-19 Update
COVID-19 Update from the Medical Director/CEO of Austen Riggs - April 2020
2020.04.24 COVID-19 Update
2020.04.17 COVID-19 Update
2020.04.01 COVID-19 Update
2020.03.24 COVID-19 Update
2020.03.20 COVID-19 Update
2020.03.17 COVID-19 Update

Austen Riggs Center Emails and Text Messages (SMS) Subscription Service for COVID-19 Updates

The Austen Riggs Center (Riggs) is offering this email and text subscription service solely for the purpose of sharing Riggs COVID-19 related alerts. Please enter the information below and select your communications preferences. Learn more about this service here: www.austenriggs.org/COVID19-updates.