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

COVID-19 Update: Crops to Community

Tuesday, May 12, 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!

Crops to Community: Connecting farms with excess crops and livestock to people in need

For every problem, there is a solution—and when community-minded people put their minds and ideas together, they find innovative and creative solutions to multiple problems. That is how Augusta Health's Crop to Community program came to be.

"There were many farmers in the community who, because of the COVID pandemic, have excess crops and livestock as a result of restaurant closures and reduction in other buyers. At the same time, and although we've always had people in need of fresh food options, the pandemic has increased the concern for those with food insecurities," says Krystal Moyers, M.Ed, CHES, Director of Community Outreach at Augusta Health. "So we worked together to develop a way to get the excess crops to people in need—and it became the Crops to Community program.

The program, facilitated by Augusta Health's Community Benefit Endowment Fund and other grant sources like the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, works like this:

  • Produce and protein are purchased from local farmers at market value.
  • The food is transported from the farms to the sorting facility on the Augusta Health campus.
  • Food is sorted and packaged for delivery.
  • Food boxes are distributed to recipients in need.

Read more about Crops to Community

Also, read about how the AMI Farm at Augusta Health has teamed up with Augusta Health to provide fresh produce to Hospice and Home Health patients.

Augusta Health—Reopening for Outpatient Services: Detailed Plan and Phases

Read about Augusta Health's plans and phased approach to re-opening its elective outpatient services and non-emergency surgeries

Augusta Health resumed Phase I elective outpatient services on May 6:

Phase I procedures—those that do not require testing, additional PPE, sedation or intubation—began on Wednesday, May 6.

  • Diagnostic radiology and diagnostic cardiology:

    • Radiology has opened up screening exams such as LDCT lung cancer screening, screening mammograms, and non-emergency diagnostics like x-rays, CTs, MRIs, ultrasound and nuclear medicine exams.

    • Cardiology has reopened Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab, echocardiograms, vascular ultrasound, cardiac stress tests, and the Device Clinic. They are contacting patients who had procedures postponed.

  • Augusta Medical Group: Practices have been scheduling patients when they can safely be seen, and encourage patients to call their provider if they have questions or concerns.

  • The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders: The Center has resumed routine follow-up visits that had been deferred.

  • The Pain Clinic has reopened and begun procedures.

For Phase I to be successful, procedures and visits will be safely resumed, supply and staffing levels will be maintained, and a low prevalence of COVID in the community and hospital will be sustained. When these criteria are all maintained, Augusta Health will move to Phase II

Please Wear a Face Mask…and BYOM!

BYOM! That's Bring Your Own Mask!

The CDC, the Virginia Department of Health and Augusta Health all recommend that everyone wear a cloth face mask when out in public. So if you will be coming to an Augusta Health facility and have your own clean and laundered mask, please wear it to your appointment. This will help us preserve the mask supply.

For more information about cloth face masks, visit: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/cloth-face-covers/

Additionally, if you'd like to make your own mask, there are patterns (sew and no-sew) here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

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/