(WFXR) — With rising COVID-19 case numbers and low vaccination rates in the Southside Virginia region, Sovah Health announced that it is halting elective and non-urgent surgical cases in order to protect members of the Danville and Martinsville communities.

Health officials say they are reaching out to patients so they can reschedule elective surgical cases and procedures that would require an admission on Sovah Health’s Danville and Martinsville campuses.

The healthcare system will also continue to screen and and require masks for everyone who enters the facility, as well as maintain limited visitor restrictions until further notice.

Sovah Health held a briefing about this pause on certain surgeries on Friday, Jan. 7:

For more information about Sovah Health’s pandemic update, you can read Friday’s full statement below:

Today, Sovah Health expresses concerns as our community is again in the midst of a COVID-19 surge.  The rising number of cases indicates substantial spread of the virus within our community, which is disheartening and concerning. The low vaccination rates in our regions leave our communities incredibly vulnerable to severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Sovah Health announces today that it is contacting patients to reschedule elective and non-urgent surgical cases and procedures that require an admission on both campuses. At this time, no other surgeries or procedures will be affected. The decisions about which procedures can safely move forward will be made by working with our clinical teams to carefully evaluate each patient’s needs. 

“It’s unfortunate that we must again take this action to pause elective surgeries,” said Dr. Sheranda Gunn-Nolan, Sovah Health Market Chief Medical Officer. “We would also like to acknowledge the tireless work our team has provided to what equates to over 600 days of a global pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”

Sovah Health cannot stress enough how important it is that we continue to remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. The new COVID variant looks to be far more contagious than previous variants and appears to be having more breakthrough capability among vaccinated people. The impact is now hitting our hospital and impacting our ability to care for our community.

The fight against COVID-19 is not new to Sovah Health. We, as well as other healthcare providers across the nation, have been battling COVID-19 for two years. Our team is highly skilled at managing and treating infectious diseases of all types, including COVID-19. We are continuing to closely follow guidance from the CDC and our local/state health departments and are adhering to the rigorous health and safety protocols that have always been in place at our facility. These operating protocols were further enhanced when the pandemic began and continue to be in place.

At this time, our census of COVID-19 positive patients remains stable, but we are closely monitoring transmission locally and consistently reviewing our policies and plans to prepare for the possibility of increased hospitalizations.

“We want to reassure our communities that it is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care,” said Alan Larson, Market President, Sovah Health and Chief Executive Officer of Sovah Health – Danville. “We are committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors and continue to provide the necessary care our communities need.”

Sovah Health will continue to screen and mask everyone who enters the facility and maintain limited visitor restrictions for the foreseeable future. These important measures have had a positive impact on ensuring a safe environment. Visit SovahHealth.com to learn more about our limited visitor restrictions.

As a reminder, we urge everyone: please do not delay emergency care. Community members experiencing a medical emergency should still call 9-1-1 or go to their nearest emergency room. Those experiencing non-emergency medical conditions are encouraged to seek treatment at their primary care provider or urgent care facilities so emergency room staff can focus on more critical needs.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, it is not too late. Every single vaccination matters – and it’s not too late! It is critical that we follow all the necessary precautions that we know are effective in slowing the spread of this virus – chief among these is getting vaccinated. It is also important to wear a mask and practice proper handwashing and social distancing – particularly with the variants surging in our community and nationwide. To find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, go to vaccinefinder.org.

Statement released on Jan. 7, 2022 by Sovah Health