COVID-19: Get the latest information, visitor restrictions, and service changes

COVID-19 Update: Being Proactive at Ritenour Rest Home

Friday, May 15, 2020

Augusta Health has begun to reopen its outpatient services. The most important priority for our community is STILL to stay home!

On May 1, Governor Ralph Northam allowed Order of Public Health Emergency Two, which temporarily halted all elective procedures at Virginia hospitals, to expire. The efforts of Virginia's communities and medical facilities to flatten the curve and reduce the rapid spread of COVID-19 had success. This allows Augusta Health to resume non-emergency surgeries and elective outpatient services.

Augusta Health will reopen its elective outpatient services (such as diagnostic imaging and cardiovascular procedures) and resume all non-emergency surgeries in three phases. The phases were developed after careful study and reflection on the recommendations and guidance provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Hospital Association (AHA), and other specialty agencies. Augusta Health will be monitoring indicators to determine when it is safe to move from one phase to the next.

Social distancing in both Augusta Health and out in the community are keys to keeping the indicators strong and continuing to meet the criteria for advancing the phases. It's important for everyone to help keep those who have been waiting for healthcare to avoid exposure to COVID-19 and cause further delays. Keep patients—and each other—safe and healthy!

Joint Statement from Ritenour Rest Home and Augusta Health on Emergent COVID-19 Infections

Ritenour Rest Home and Augusta Health are working together to proactively address an emerging COVID-19 situation at the assisted living facility in Staunton.

"We've developed a collaborative relationship to help with the care of patients with COVID-19 infection at Ritenour Rest Home," says Clint Merritt, MD, Chief Clinical Officer for Population Health at Augusta Health. "When we learned about a COVID-19 patient at the Ritenour Rest Home, we connected with Ritenour's staff to proactively provide support to them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID-19 testing and education on infection control processes."

To assist the Ritenour Rest Home and the Central Shenandoah Health District, Augusta Health is testing all residents and staff at the assisted living facility. A few weeks ago, Augusta Care Partners began providing proactive surveillance, PPE and social distancing guidance to long term care facilities in the Staunton-Augusta County-Waynesboro region to continue to flatten the curve and to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in the area. While Augusta Health and Augusta Care Partners are providing support and assistance to the facilities, we will not publically release details about particular COVID-19 cases or the number of illnesses at a facility to protect the privacy of the residents and to keep strong collaboration with our partner facilities.

"We appreciate the response from Augusta Health and Augusta Care Partners," says Lindsay Lowe, Administrator at Ritenour Rest Home. "The testing and support have been a great service to us."

"Although this situation is a serious concern, it's also been an affirming opportunity—Augusta Health, the Central Shenandoah Health District and Ritenour Rest Home are working closely together to care for patients in our community. We are thankful for the collaborative effort of everyone involved. The dedication and commitment from the Ritenour staff has been especially notable," adds Dr. Merritt.

If you have concerns about COVID-19 symptoms or exposure:

Please call our COVID Care Call Center at (540) 332-5122. We have a team of nurses answering the calls seven days a week between 8 am and 4:30 pm.

Augusta Health's COVID-19 Assessment Center is located at the Waynesboro Urgent Care at 201 Lew Dewitt Boulevard in Waynesboro. The COVID-19 Assessment Center is open seven days a week from 8 am until 7 pm.

At the Assessment Center, patients can be evaluated, treated and educated about respiratory illness and tested for COVID if the test is indicated.

The COVID Care Call Center and COVID-19 Assessment Center work together to see patients effectively while reducing possible exposure of others to COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 cases in Virginia, visit https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/ or https://www.vhha.com/communications/virginia-hospital-covid-19-data-dashboard/