LYNCHBURG, Va. – Local health officials are warning about COVID’s impact on hospitals, even as Governor Ralph Northam announces an emergency order.
The omicron variant is spreading quickly and Centra Hospital in Lynchburg is running out of space. While the governor’s order allows hospitals to add more beds, doctors say it’s not the answer.
“We’re using every resource we can. We’ve filled up those spaces. We have the proper equipment, and we know how to take care of COVID patients,” SVP & Chief Physician Executive at Centra Health Dr. Matt Foster says. “What we can’t manufacture is more nurses. We can’t manufacture more doctors.”
On Tuesday, Centra passed its highest number of COVID patients ever: 133 with a total of 20 patients in the ICU. Even after creating new spaces, they’re still sending patients to Bedford and Southside.
“This directly impacts our emergency rooms,” SVP Clinical Officer at Centra Health Dr. Chris Lewis says. “We have significant boarding problems where patients are waiting for beds in the hospital, yet we can’t place them because beds are full.”
Currently, emergency wait room times are as long as eight hours. Centra says this is because several people are coming in for COVID tests and it’s straining resources.
Doctors ask if you have mild or no symptoms to not test and if you need one, to seek help elsewhere.
“All we need to do right now is hold on tight and really brace ourselves for what’s coming,” Dr. Lewis says. “We’ve done this before and we’ll do it again.”
Doctors add if you’re vaccinated and haven’t gotten around to getting a booster shot, do so ASAP.
Here’s a breakdown of Centra’s COVID testing opportunities:
Nurse Visit Only Testing on Saturdays from 8:00 – 1:00pm
- Locations: Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency (2323 Memorial Avenue, Suite #10) and Bedford General Surgery (1615 Oakwood St. Suite D, Bedford)
- Dates: Jan. 15, Jan. 22 and Jan. 29
Nurse Visits Only Testing on Wednesdays from 1:00pm – 4:30pm
- Location: Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency (2323 Memorial Avenue, Suite #10)
- Dates: Jan. 12, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26
Provider and Nurse Visits available daily from 8:00a – 8:00p
- Locations: Forest Urgent Care, Danville Urgent Care or Farmville Urgent Care
- This option encourages patients to call ahead, but still they are still taking walk-ins for urgent needs.
- This clinic is for testing only; provider visits will not be available. If you need to see a provider please visit your primary care practice or a local urgent care. If you need a provider and do not have one, please visit your nearest urgent care.
Who is eligible to get tested? Officials say anyone 16 and older who:
- Has COVID symptoms
- Has had close contact/exposure to a person who tested positive for COVID (For those vaccinated, testing is good 5-7 days post-exposure. For those unvaccinated, immediately after exposure and on days 5-7)
Anyone age 15 or younger experiencing symptoms should make an appointment with their pediatrician or primary care provider.