‘Urgent situation’: Outdoor patient tent and morgue trailer at Augusta Health due to COVID-19 surge – The News Leader

play
Show Caption
Hide Caption

Pediatrician: No age group being spared from COVID

With a return to in-person school coinciding with a COVID-19 surge fueled by the delta variant, the stakes are high for children, many who are not yet eligible for vaccinations. (Sept. 9)

AP

FISHERSVILLE — Over the 24 hours preceding 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, there were 112 new positive COVID-19 cases diagnosed through Augusta Health testing sites, according to an update from the hospital system. 

This is the second highest daily positive total during the pandemic; the highest daily total was 118 on Aug. 29.

The current inpatient COVID-19 census is 67 and increasing daily at the hospital. Augusta Health anticipates that the local surge will continue through the end of September and will reach a census of more than 100 inpatient COVID-19 patients. 

Typically, about 20% of Augusta Health’s COVID-19 patients are critical care/ICU level patients. Very sick, high-acuity patients like COVID-19 patients require more resources — both technical and staff — to provide the care they need.

Augusta Health’s predictive models and projections are also used to create a detailed surge plan to address the increase in both positive cases and admission of COVID-19 patients to the hospital. A dedicated team is focused on surge planning and adapt on a daily and even hourly basis. 

Surge plan 

Some of the steps recently taken as part of the Surge Plan:

  • Temporary closing of facilities or departments so staff and space can be reassigned. 
  • The Skilled Nursing Floor and other units have been temporarily closed and converted for COVID care. 
  • The number of ICU beds has been increased.
  • Surgeries have been reduced to 40-50% of the usual volume and staff and resources redeployed.  All necessary surgeries are completed and medical staff is consulted to prioritize other surgeries.

‘Urgent situation’

A Base X tent that has been erected outside the Emergency Department and access to a temporary morgue trailer. To date, they have not been used.

“This is an urgent situation that is fluid and dynamic,” said Augusta Health.

“Many in the community are asking how they can help. The answer is: Please vaccinate, wear masks indoors even if vaccinated, wash hands frequently and stay socially distant from others when possible to help slow the spread and lower the projections,” the hospital pleaded.

COVID vaccinations are the still the most effective and lasting way to prevent COVID infections in our community, and the best defense against serious illness and death.

Current vaccination dose count at Augusta Health:

Total doses given at Augusta Health vaccination clinics: 85,157

Community member fully-vaccinated at AH vaccination clinics: 43,623

Boosters for the immunocompromised: 1,468

Vaccination eligibility

Augusta Health is vaccinating everyone age 12 and older who lives, works or goes to school in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for individuals age 18 and over.  Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals age 12 and older; a parent or guardian must be present to consent to vaccination of those under the age of 18. 

At this time, third-dose COVID-19 booster shots are available only to:

  • Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (no proof of a medical condition is required at this time); and who
  • Have already received two doses of either the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine; and who
  • Received their second dose of vaccine more than 28 days ago.

Booster shots for other individuals have been discussed for administration on or about Sept. 20; however, this dosage has not yet been recommended by the FDA or approved the CDC.  Until those recommendations and approvals are given, appointments cannot be scheduled.

Vaccinations

Augusta Health’s primary care offices

Vaccinations for COVID-19 continue in all Augusta Medical Group primary care offices.  Patients who prefer to receive a vaccination from their personal physician should contact their doctor’s office to be scheduled into the next available vaccination appointment block. 

Community-based clinics

Tuesday, Sept. 14:  Blue Ridge Community College Houff Student Center. The clinic will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Walk-ins welcome until 1 p.m.

This is a dual Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic. Anyone age 12 and older may receive Pfizer vaccine; Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose vaccine available to those age 18 and older and administered if available. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com. 

Community organizations that would like to partner with Augusta Health for a Vaccination Clinic can contact [email protected] for more information on the requirements.

More: D.C.-based restaurant chain investing in new processing operation in Verona, creating 52 jobs

More: Dramatic difference | Surgical masks outperform cloth masks by 60% in coronavirus study

Your support helps keep the lights on at The News Leader. Stay connected with our stories, enterprise reporting and more by clicking “Subscribe” at the top of the page.

On-campus mass vaccination clinics

Appointments are preferred for clinics. Walk-ins are welcome. 

Go to vaccinate.augustahealth.com to view the links and schedule an appointment.  Information about new clinics, the links and the criteria for each link, are posted as available. On-campus clinics for the remainder of this week are:

Thursday, Sept. 9:  After school/after work clinic hours for those are unable to come during the day. The clinic will run from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Walk-ins welcome until 6 p.m.

This is a dual Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic. Anyone age 12 and older may receive Pfizer vaccine; Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose vaccine available to those age 18 and older and administered if available. The link is open on  vaccinate.augustahealth.com

Friday, Sept. 10:  Pfizer/Moderna third-dose booster clinic: For moderately and severely immunocompromised people. The clinic will run from 8 a.m. until noon.

It must be at least 28 days since the second dose of vaccine. Please bring Vaccination Record Card or record of previous vaccination. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com.

Tuesday, Sept. 14:  Pfizer/Moderna third-dose booster clinic: For moderately and severely immunocompromised people. The clinic will run from 8 a.m. until noon.

It must be at least 28 days since the second dose of vaccine. Please bring Vaccination Record Card or record of previous vaccination. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com.

Wednesday, Sept. 15:  After school/after work clinic hours for those are unable to come during the day. The clinic will run from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Walk-ins welcome until 6 pm.

This is a dual Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic. Anyone age 12 and older may receive Pfizer vaccine; Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose vaccine available to those age 18 and older and administered if available.  The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com

Thursday, Sept. 16:  After school/after work clinic hours for those are unable to come during the day. The clinic will run from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Walk-ins welcome until 6 pm.

This is a dual Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic. Anyone age 12 and older may receive Pfizer vaccine; Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose vaccine available to those age 18 and older and administered if available. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com

Friday, Sept.17:  Pfizer/Moderna third-dose booster clinic: For moderately and severely immunocompromised people. The clinic will run from 8 a.m. until noon.

It must be at least 28 days since the second dose of vaccine. Please bring Vaccination Record Card or record of previous vaccination. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com.

Vaccination call center

Not everyone has access to the internet. Those who need assistance to schedule should call Augusta Health’s Vaccination Call Center at 540-332-5122. The call center is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. to answer questions and help to schedule vaccination appointments.

Homebound patients are being vaccinated through a pilot program with Central Shenandoah EMS. Contact the vaccination call center for more information.

More: In the mix: More area students learned through hybrid last year than remote or in-class

More: Staunton’s Central Streetscape project continues, expected to cause detours in September

Monique Calello (she/her) is The News Leader’s health reporter. Email: [email protected]. Twitter @moniquecalello.

Source