Centra asks for community’s help amid rise in COVID hospitalizations, strain on healthcare system

(Photo: Courtesy Daniel R. Betancourt/U.S. Marine Corps/CC BY 2.0 via MGN Online)

(Photo: Courtesy Daniel R. Betancourt/U.S. Marine Corps/CC BY 2.0 via MGN Online)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — After seeing a decline in COVID-19 numbers over the last several weeks, health officials announced Monday morning that both Centra Lynchburg General Hospital and Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville have seen an overall increase in virus hospitalizations.

According to Centra Health, a total of 68 coronavirus patients are at Lynchburg General Hospital and Southside Community Hospital as of 9:45 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 20.

The healthcare company says that 60 patients of those patients are at Lynchburg General Hospital — 17 of whom are in the ICU, including 10 on the ventilator — and eight are at Southside Community Hospital.

As a base of comparison, health officials say that Lynchburg General Hospital had 30 COVID-19 inpatients just before Thanksgiving.

Of those 68 total coronavirus patients, Centra’s COVID-19 dashboard says 57 patients — including 14 of the 17 patients in the ICU — are considered “unvaccinated,” which means they have not received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

Health officials also reminded residents about the significant virus surges experienced by Centra and the surrounding communities in December 2020 and January 2021.

You can read the rest of Centra’s statement from Monday below:

While our current local COVID infections are likely the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the Omicron variant has been identified in Northern Virginia, and will likely be present in our local population shortly, if it is not already here. We are still learning about Omicron, but data suggests it is significantly more transmissible than prior variants, including the Delta variant. We are as a system preparing to see a possible significant escalation in COVID infections in our community over the next several weeks.

Our healthcare system is currently experiencing significant strain due to multiple factors in addition to COVID census increase: seasonal increase in general (non-COVID) medical care needs, a national staffing shortage, multiple other regional medical systems also being overwhelmed and going on diversion and local nursing facilities being unable to accommodate discharges due to staffing shortages and COVID outbreaks.

While we are monitoring our situation closely, we are asking our community for help. With the holidays approaching, we ask our community to gather safely by considering testing for the presence of COVID, including home testing before gathering in large groups and homes. And lastly, if you haven’t already, vaccination and boosters remain the single most effective tool we have to stop the spread and reach community immunity.

Most important to understand, we have a courageous, dedicated, self-sacrificing force of Caregivers that is simply exhausted, but continues to care for our community despite these challenges.

Centra remains committed to informed transparency as we continue to battle both COVID and our capacity challenges.

Statement issued by Centra Communications and Public Relations on Dec. 20, 2021

Follow these links for more information about Centra’s latest coronavirus updates and vaccination efforts.

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