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

COVID-19 Update: Redeployed Employees and New Uses for Equipment

Friday, April 24, 2020

The most important priority for our community is to stay home!

The curve for peak hospital resource use in the Commonwealth of Virginia has shifted again. The estimated peak for resource use in Virginia was April 23. That was yesterday. Reaching peak resource day does not mean, however, that COVID-19 has left the community.

Exercise Social Distancing to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases in our community. Flattening the curve is the best way to help ensure we will have the beds, ventilators, masks, tests, and supplies necessary on peak resource day. Now is not the time to stop social distancing!

Our curve has flattened considerably since projections began. This indicates that social distancing and the precautions taken by our state and community are having a positive impact on the incidence of COVID-19 in our community! So please stay home.

As a community, we have taken many necessary steps to create social distancing---schools are closed, non-essential services are closed and Governor Northam has issued a Stay-at-Home Order. Thank you for the part you have played in flattening the curve.

For more information, visit https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/virginia

Yesterday’s Peak Resource Graph

The projected curve for COVID-19 cases in Virginia

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. At the Assessment Center, patients can be evaluated, treated and educated about respiratory illness and tested for COVID if needed. Availability of tests is improving.

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.

Should I call 911? Is it safe to come to Augusta Health?

Augusta Health's primary goal is to keep our patients, staff and the community safe while addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The health system has taken several precautions to ensure that patients with COVID-19 and those suspected of having COVID-19 are appropriately isolated from those without respiratory illnesses. Among those are:

We've re-engineered our facilities

  • Within our Urgent Cares, the Waynesboro Urgent Care has been converted to the COVID-19 Assessment Center. All patients with respiratory illness are directed there; patients without respiratory illnesses are directed to one of our other Urgent Cares. Patients are greeted outside to be sure they are at an appropriate urgent care for their needs.
  • For Inpatient care, we've created a dedicated Respiratory Unit. The entire floor is negative pressure. Only respiratory patients (COVID/suspected COVID) are on this floor. Other patients are on other floors of the hospital.
  • Similarly, in the Emergency Department there is a separate, negative pressure area of the ED to treat respiratory patients.
  • Physician offices can now accommodate telehealth visits.

The hospital now has a No Visitor/No Access policy. All patients entering facilities are screened for COVID, including temperature checks, and masked as appropriate with CDC guidelines. Staff is also screened with temperature checks at the start of each work shift. Staff has universal/extended-use mask policy in place. Some employees have been redeployed to new roles as Safety Officers to help all other employees with safe donning and doffing (taking on/taking off) Personal Protective Equipment and providing information and instruction on safe practices.

To help ease the stress of the no visitor/no access policy, we've also trained several employees as ED Family Liaisons and starting Monday, Inpatient Family Liaisons, to facilitate connection and communication between staff, patients and families.

Additional cleaning and disinfecting in taking place regularly, including use of our UV Surfacide System to remove additional viruses after disinfection.

Every day, our Hospital Incident Command meets to discuss any new information on COVID discovered in the past 24 hours, and implement, if needed, any new policies, procedures or processes needed to keep our staff, patients and community as safe as possible.

Heroes at Work

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Augusta Health employees are working in new roles—in preparation for a potential surge of COVID patients at Augusta Health, they have been redeployed to other areas of the hospital to support those efforts. Their skills and talents, along with their willingness to help wherever needed, has resulted in their using their work hours to make a difference in a new way.

Read Redeployed Employees and New Uses for Equipment

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