LYNCHBURG, Va. – Centra Health leaders now see a sign of hope in the ongoing effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In a virtual press conference Wednesday, Centra Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Christopher Lewis said the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in its system has “leveled off” during the past few days.
40 people are hospitalized across Centra with COVID-19, and only 10 of them require treatment in an intensive care unit. Lewis said Centra made a big decision about its two COVID-19 ICU centers based on these numbers.
“As of Tuesday evening, we were able to collapse that into just one ICU dedicated to COVID patients, because our numbers for ICU care have been dropping over time,” Lewis said.
Lewis and Centra CEO Andy Mueller both credit the numbers to Central Virginians adjusting to social distance suggestions, such as wearing masks and staying six feet apart from others.
“All of the things we thought were probably helpful earlier in the COVID crisis have proven to be helpful, with additional research to validate that concept,” Mueller said.
“You are seeing masking happen more as a common theme throughout businesses,” Lewis said. “It’s becoming mandated more and more, and I think folks are understanding and complying.”
Centra reports 42 people have died of COVID-19 at its health centers: 37 at Lynchburg General Hospital and 5 at Southside Community Hospital in Farmville. Lewis said Central Virginians can not let their guard down, because there is still an imminent threat these numbers could increase.
“We have to live with COVID,” Lewis said. “COVID is here, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living.”