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Centra Lynchburg ready to receive patients Friday for elective surgeries

Gov. Northam’s executive order banning elective surgeries expires at 11:59 p.m. Thursday

Centra Health gets ready for governor's elective surgery ban to expire
Centra Health gets ready for governor's elective surgery ban to expire

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Many hospitals in the area are getting ready for elective surgeries because Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order banning elective procedures expires at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Centra Lynchburg said it’s ready for elective procedures but has set new guidelines before a patient can enter the operating room.

Officials said that out of caution, doctors will act as if everyone has the virus.

Medical staff will have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and practice social distancing.

Centra officials say aerosolizing procedures (e.g., intubation, nebulizer therapy) will be minimized, and when required, only a minimum number of caregivers will be present. Air-exchange filters will be used in anesthesia machines, and extra time will be offered for natural air exchange processes.

Centra leaders also said people who are scheduled for elective surgeries are being tested before their procedures.

If someone tests positive, that surgery will have to be rescheduled.

“Moving forward, we’re going to shoot for about three days prior to their procedure for them to have their test. And we’re going to ask after to have their test performed that they are socially distant as well before their procedure just to keep themselves safe,” said Chris Thompson, chief medical officer with Centra Lynchburg.

Centra leaders said visitation for elective surgery patients is prohibited.

Centra leaders also added that during the months of March and April, they performed 1,500 cases which were done under an emergency basis. The hospital estimates a backlog of about 800 to 900 cases. Centra says doctors performed over 3,000 cases during the same last year. These numbers only reflect operating rooms and endoscopy cases. It does not include cardiac catherization procedures, obstetrics or general procedures performed in outpatient facilities.