COVID-19 Update: Testing Update, Best Practices, Donations
We are urging the community to stay home.
This is the most important way for us to help ensure we will have the beds, ventilators, masks, tests, and supplies necessary to meet the needs of our valued community. This is a real and direct way people can contribute and help reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our community.
If you have concerns about 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.
Today's Blog by Augusta Health experts
Mindfulness—Soothing for an Anxious Time
The practice of mindfulness involves, "Paying attention to something, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally." Paying close attention to a beloved pet mindfully can give us a much needed break from the anxious thoughts that we may be experiencing. Pet therapy, indeed.
Testing Update—New Sources of Testing
Augusta Health is now working with UVA for COVID-19 testing; specifically, UVA can provide testing for inpatients and healthcare workers as needed. Augusta Health has relationships with Quest and EGL for testing of outpatients for COVID-19, and continues to work on engaging new labs for testing kit supplies and testing.
Best Practice Update
Keeping our Community at the forefront of stopping the spread of COVID-19
A best practice approach is a public health strategy or solution that is effective at impacting a problem. Some best practices that Augusta Health has already implemented in the community to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- The COVID Care Call Center allows patients to connect with trained medical professional nurses to discuss their concerns and symptoms without leaving their homes. The nurses can provide advice, direction and referral as needed. So far, Augusta Health nurses in the COVID Care Call Center have answered more than 400 calls and screened more than 250 on the phone. Others called for information or other reasons.
- The COVID-19 Assessment Center at the Waynesboro Urgent Care provides the opportunity to evaluate and treat all outpatients with respiratory symptoms at one central location in the community. Those seeing physicians in offices or clinics for other medical issues avoid contact with the respiratory illness.
- Similarly, Augusta Health has opened a dedicated respiratory unit within the hospital to care for inpatients with respiratory symptoms. This is a specific area away from those with other medical diagnoses. This area has negative pressure capacity. Although there are currently no patients diagnosed with COVID-19 on the unit, it can care for any patient with respiratory symptoms.
Augusta Health has worked hard to implement these best practice strategies early in order to reduce the impact and incidence of COVID-19 in the community.
Donations from the Community Update!
Augusta Health is INCREDIBLY grateful for the magnitude of the generosity in our community, and for their concerns for our employees and each other during this stressful time. We have received phone calls and emails from pastors, church sewing groups, local employers and businesses, dentist offices, residents, nonprofit organizations, and others offering to provide needed supplies, personal protective equipment, and food for our staff. Augusta Health team members are most grateful for this support and overwhelmed by this outreach.
We are confident of our current supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but based on the experience of other communities, welcome these donations as we prepare for the future. And the food donations are always appreciated! A sampling of some of the donations we've received this week:
- An entire pallet of Hershey's Easter candy for staff enjoyment from The Hershey Company
- Pizza, soda and water from Staunton's Dominos, Kroger and Sheets
- New, boxed N95 masks from local woodworkers
- Dentist offices sending ear-looped medical masks
- Disposable gowns, masks, soap and hand-sanitizer from Blue Ridge Community College
- Dust masks and disposable gowns from Cadence
- 16,000 ear-looped masks from Hershey Chocolate in Stuarts Draft
- Two boxes of N95 masks from Spring Hill Presbyterian Church in Staunton
- Surgical masks, gloves and procedure masks from Church on the Hill in Fishersville
Please call or email the Augusta Health Foundation BEFORE coming to Augusta Health if you or your business have these supplies on hand and are willing to donate them to support Augusta Health. The Foundation's Office can be reached at: (540) 332-5174 or ahfoundation [at] augustahealth.com. Thank you!
Updated Visitor Policy—Reminder
As of March 25, we're including temperature checks as part of our Visitor Screening. Those with temperatures of 100°F or above will not be allowed into the hospital. Staff members are at all entry doors to assist patients and visitors.
From 8 pm until 6 am, the Emergency Department is the only public entrance to Augusta Health.
Business/Finance Office Closed—Reminder
Effectively immediately, the Business/Finance office is closed to the public. Staff is still available by phone to and online to help with questions. The phone number is (540) 332-4600.