UVA Health System prepares for more potential coronavirus cases in central Virginia

UVA Hospital prepares for more potential coronavirus cases in Central Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia Health System is preparing for a wider spread of COVID-19 by making sure patients and essential healthcare workers are protected.

As a first step, there are strict rules about the number of visitors allowed for patients. Anyone receiving end-of-life care can have two designated visitors. Pediatric patients and anyone in labor is allowed just one designated visitor. All visitors have to be screened before entering the hospital.

Eric Swenson, a spokesperson for the UVA Health System, says that limit on visitors is one way to keep essential gear like gloves and masks available to doctors and nurses. That can help stop the spread of coronavirus, and protect staff at the hospital along with patients and visitors. Swenson says there are other changes as well.

“We are taking a lot of steps to conserve our personal protective equipment and medical supplies and equipment,” Swenson said, “Some of the changes that we have announced include rescheduling. Most of our elective surgeries that were planned over really through the end of this month."

According to Swenson, keeping enough personal protective equipment is not the only step being taken to prepare for more potential coronavirus cases. If there are more cases than beds in the hospital, a plan is being put in place so that as many people as possible can receive care.

"We opened a new emergency department this fall ... in that bed tower that we were opening up is now in the process of being prepared to serve potentially if needed, as a as a unit for COVID-19 patients,” said Swenson.

Swenson says, for now, it’s best for people to stay inside. If they must go out, he says to practice social distancing to help flatten the curve of coronavirus spreading.

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