Carilion announces plans to gradually resume nonessential surgeries, procedures

Precautions introduced because of COVID-19 will stay in place

ROANOKE, Va. – Gov. Northam’s statewide ban on nonessential surgeries expired on Friday, and like other area hospitals, Carilion Clinic is getting ready to ramp up services.

The hospital is implementing plans to gradually resume nonessential surgeries and other procedures, and senior vice president and chair of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Michael Nussbaum, acknowledges that it’s a “complex process.”

“While we look forward to welcoming patients back and rescheduling procedures that were postponed, we know this is a long-term process that must be done in a safe and smart way,” Dr. Nussbaum said.

Hospital leaders said operating rooms were running at 25-30% of normal capacity during the statewide ban on nonessential procedures. Their plans include increasing that volume to 50% in the coming weeks and to full capacity in the coming months.

Dr. Nussbaum is also leading the team responsible for restoring services. He said the team is looking at how to safely ramp up services, while keeping in mind that COVID-19 will continue to exist in local communities in the near future.

“Because of that, we’re working through the processes required to keep our patients, staff and community safe while still making sure they have access to their needed surgical care," Dr. Nussbaum said.

Hospital leaders say the strict precautions introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in place. These include things like screenings, visitor restrictions, social distancing and masks for visitors and patients.

Patients who have upcoming surgeries at Carilion Clinic will be evaluated and then asked to isolate for five days prior to being test for COVID-19. Hospital leaders say upon receiving a negative test, patients can undergo their procedure.

Carilion Clinic says patients do not need to contact providers to reschedule canceled appointments.

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