Health system halting elective procedures amid virus surge

Gov. Ralph Northam announcing new coronavirus restrictions in a video posted on Nov. 13, 2020. (Gov. Ralph Northam)

RICHMOND, Va. – A health system serving a swath of the central Appalachian mountains says it will halt non-emergency elective procedures due to surging cases of COVID-19 and capacity concerns at its Virginia and Tennessee hospitals.

Ballad Health officials announced the change Wednesday at a news conference.

It will take effect Monday and last for at least 30 days.

Ballad CEO Alan Levine also announced that the system has one refrigerated morgue truck at a Tennessee hospital and has ordered a second one for a different hospital.

Ballad has been pleading with community members for months to follow basic public health measures to stop the spread of the virus.