‘A proactive stance’: Centra CEO tout’s hospital system’s effort to respond to coronavirus

Centra officials held news conference Tuesday

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Centra says it’s ahead of the curve in preparing for the coronavirus. It has about 100 ventilators, which are a hot commodity in hospitals across the country. More have been ordered.

The hospital’s stockpile of masks, both for patients and doctors and nurses, is also good right now, thanks in part to people making masks at home and donating them.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Centra CEO Andy Mueller said there are 20 ICU beds for critical coronavirus patients and about 40 for non-critical patients.

A plan is being developed to convert University of Lynchburg dorms into hospital rooms if necessary. The hope is that will not be necessary thanks to non-essential procedures being stopped.

Hospital bed space was only about 60 percent full Tuesday, according to Mueller, because non-essential services had been stopped so there is room for patients at the hospitals.

“We’ve really taken, I think, a very proactive stance to get ahead of some of the recommendations and have really been able, through our experience, to help partner with other health systems in the state to provide some of our experience and share some of our guidance," said Mueller.

Centra is also working with the University of Virginia to do some coronavirus testing in an effort to speed up the process.

The university can get test results back in 24 hours, according to Centra Chief Medical Officer Chris Thompson.

“We have taken some of the tests that we’ve been waiting for from our other tester and we’ve actually re-sent them up to the University of Virginia where we can get a more rapid turnaround on some of those tests," said Thompson.

As of Tuesday morning, Centra had tested about 300 people and results were still pending for about two-thirds of the tests.