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COVID-19 Update: Tips for a safe Thanksgiving holiday

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The holiday season is coming…and COVID-19 is sticking around to celebrate with us!

COVID-19 has never left our community and is, in fact, increasing in prevalence. We continue to identify positive cases daily. Please remember:

  • Stay home if you can. If you can't stay home, maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask to protect others, yourself and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol.

Articles you can use: Tips and Suggestions for a safe Thanksgiving holiday

Gatherings during a Holiday Season: You don't want COVID-19 to be your extra guest!

As the temperatures nudge colder and the days grow shorter, a bright spot of the fall and winter seasons each year is the holiday gatherings. But the celebrations—Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Years—usually include indoor gatherings of friends and families, crowded parties, and travel. All of these activities increase the risk for getting or spreading COVID-19. So how do we reduce risk for our own parties and the ones we attend? Here, from the Augusta Health Infection Prevention specialists and the CDC, are some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

Read Gatherings & Get-Togethers During a Pandemic

Reduce your risk of spreading COVID-19 at Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving! Many will be traveling to celebrate with families. Travel and family gatherings, though, can increase your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. The BEST way to protect yourself and others is to stay home. If you do decide to celebrate with others, different activities carry different levels of risk for COVID-19. Here, from the CDC, are Thanksgiving activities sorted by risk level:

Read Reduce your risk of spreading COVID-19 at Thanksgiving

Weyers Cave Urgent Care temporarily closing

Because Urgent Care volumes in general have decreased during the pandemic, employees from Augusta Health's Weyers Cave Urgent Care will be temporarily moved to support facilities with increasing volumes to meet the community's healthcare needs. The closure should last approximately 10 days or until early December.

Patients in the Weyers Cave community seeking Urgent Care can find a close alternative at Augusta Health's Staunton Urgent Care Center at 851 Statler Boulevard in Staunton. Patients with respiratory symptoms should seek evaluation at the Waynesboro Assessment Center at 201 Lew Dewitt Boulevard in Waynesboro.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our local COVID-19 cases are rising quickly and have tripled in the past few weeks.

Here's Augusta Health's current status:

Over the past month, the number of COVID-19 cases at Augusta Health has tripled. Projections indicate that this trend in current prevalence rates is expected to continue through at least the end of the year. This recent spike in the number of confirmed positive cases in the Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro area (www.vdh.virginia.gov) aligns with the pattern of surge now experienced around the nation. Since March, there have been 971 cases of COVID-19 confirmed at Augusta Health at inpatient and outpatient facilities, and a total of 1,832 in the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro region.

Prevalence rates are increasing amid a large community spread of the virus. The census of patients in the COVID Care Unit at Augusta Health has increased, and the hospital is engaging efforts that will double the capacity to care for COVID-19 patients. This is part of Augusta Health's comprehensive surge plan that has been in place since the onset of the pandemic. As a result, Augusta Health is no longer accepting new patients to our Rehabilitation or Skilled Nursing Facility units for the time being and will be reviewing elective surgeries for scheduling on a case-by-case basis.

Read the Statement of COVID-19 at Augusta Health

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

Augusta Health's COVID-19 Assessment Center is open seven days a week from 8 am until 7 pm. It 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 the test is indicated.

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/