Hospital beds filling up in COVID-19 units in Charlottesville area

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:42 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia Medical Center and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital both say they have enough beds right now to meet the influx of COVID-19 patients, but both are preparing for the worst.

“The patients that we’re seeing here at UVA have not been vaccinated or they’re immunocompromised,” Dr. Bill Petri, infectious disease specialist at UVA, said.

Petri says additional services are being added to the COVID unit to meet this surge of cases.

“The Pulmonology Department has also added additional Intensive Care Unit teams to it, and so there’s been a lot of planning and we’re actually having to utilize that surge capacity right now,” Petri said.

The Blue Ridge Health District is working to slow the spread as the percent positivity rate climbs to almost 8%.

“The Delta variant is far more transmissible and far more infectious than anything we’ve seen thus far in Virginia and in our health district,” BRHD Incident Commander Ryan McKay said. “That combined with relaxation of all the mitigation strategies is creating a higher positivity rate.”

At Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, beds are filling up but the hospital system won’t disclose how many are left.

“At this point, we are not able to share those capacity, you know, exact numbers just because it is something that is changing so rapidly,” Spokesperson Alyssa Pacheco said.

SMJH Chief Nursing Officer Johnsa Morris says the system is not at capacity.

“Capacity right now it’s not an issue with COVID patients. We do, however, have a plan for when our capacity goes up and how to manage our daily operations with increased capacity,” Morris said.

Most of the patients with COVID-19 coming into SMJH are unvaccinated, according to Dr. Andrea Chapman.

“The population of COVID patients is definitely much higher than we’ve seen in recent months, not quite at our peak from January of 2021, but pretty close,” Chapman said.

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