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Virginia health care providers forced to change patient care during latest COVID-19 surge

Bedford Memorial Hospital recently opened a unit for non-ICU COVID patients

The latest surge in COVID-19 is causing health experts to make decisions about how they care for patients.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The latest surge in COVID-19 is forcing health experts to make decisions on how they care for patients.

Sovah Health leaders say it’s their responsibility to provide care for all patients, but they’re redirecting their attention due to the surge.

“Unfortunately, in order to take care of a few that are spiking and have increased need, primarily those with COVID, we are required to reduce our services,” said Alan Larson, Sovah’s chief executive officer.

Sovah announced Friday elective procedures are suspended for two weeks.

The Southside health care provider is currently treating about 60 patients, with 80 percent of them unvaccinated.

“This is day 661 of a global pandemic, and I more than anyone would love for this to be business as usual, but we’re not there yet, and to act like it is, is a deadly mistake,” said Dr. Sheranda Gunn-Nolan, Sovah’s chief medical officer.

Centra Health also continues its fight against the latest COVID surge. Leaders reported 111 patients this week, with 87 of them unvaccinated.

“We’ve just reached that point. There’s been so many positives in the community and sick needing hospitalization, that we’ve had to expand,” said Stacey Vaught, interim chief nursing officer at Bedford Memorial Hospital.

Bedford Memorial Hospital recently opened a unit for non-ICU COVID patients.

Centra also updated its visitation policy Thursday to only one person at a time.

“We struggle like every other facility, so it’s a daily work in progress,” said Vaught.

Gunn-Nolan says despite a nationwide shortage of COVID-19 test kits at pharmacies and health departments, people should avoid the ER as much as possible.

“Everyone [should] seek those options before coming to the hospital just to try to get a COVID test.”


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.