Shenandoah Valley hospitals say they are prepared to help all patients, COVID-19 or not

Shenandoah Valley hospitals say they are prepared to help all patients, COVID-19 or not
Augusta Health (FILE) (Source: WHSV)

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Thousands of new coronavirus cases are reported every day. Local hospitals want to ensure the community they are able to help all patients, whether they have COVID-19 or another medical emergency.

Hospital officials in the Central Shenandoah Health district said they are constantly working to ensure that there is enough space for all patients in need of care.

“We are allocating spaces based on the need that we see and that is almost on a day-to-day basis. We have daily command meetings that look at what our volumes are and what they are projected to be,” said Dr. David Fosnocht with Augusta Health’s emergency department.

Augusta Health created an RCU. or Respiratory Care Unit, to help COVID-19 patients in need of care.

According to hospital officials, the number of beds in the RCU fluctuates constantly as people are discharged and/or the hospital needs to convert other units into more space for the RCU.

“If there is a need for additional ICU space or staffing, then we adjust to that kind of on an as-needed basis,” Dr. Fosnocht explained.

Augusta Health’s ICU is said to be operating normally.

“We have contingency plans in place where we can either expand into another area for a COVID unit. Or expand into another area for just our general population that we serve every day,” said Rita Bunch, Vice President of Operations for Sentara RMH.

Officials with Sentara RMH said that all Sentara hospitals have been prepared for a dramatic increase in patients for years.

“We’re meeting all throughout the day to assess our capacity levels because it literally changes hour by hour, with people being admitted at the same time they are being discharged, surgery, and all of those things. It’s routinely we have different time slots set up throughout the day set up to review capacity levels,” Bunch explained.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association created a dashboard that shows everything from the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients to the number of ventilators in use.

The dashboard reported that there are more than 2,700 patients hospitalized that are confirmed with COVID-19 in the state of Virginia.

Find a breakdown of cases in our area by clicking here.

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