Carilion Clinic gives update on preparedness for coronavirus

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — While southwest Virginia hasn’t seen a confirmed case of the virus, many medical experts say it’s only a matter of time. That’s why staff and officials at Carilion say they are acting now.

Doctors and staff held a news conference Wednesday to update their preparations.

The hospital has already limited visitors. No one under 18 and only one visitor per patient.

Starting Wednesday, they are postponing non-essential surgeries and closing all Carilion wellness sites.

“In some ways, I would say, life at Carilion isn’t the same as it was a day ago or even a week ago,” said Carilion President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee.

During their news conference, doctors announced that about 165 people have been tested for coronavirus at Carilion. They have the results for about a third of them. So far, all have all tested negative.

“I think that’s it’s inevitable that we will have positive test results in our region. One need only to look across the country to see how that’s happening. Our goal is to do our best to limit the spread of this virus across the region,” said Senior Vice President and Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Paul R. Skolnik.

The hospital is looking to open a dedicated site for patients who should be tested.

“We are looking at several sites right now and we expect to have something available in the next 24 to 72 hours,” said Howell Agee.

All tests are ordered from doctors. So anyone who thinks they have symptoms should call their primary care doctor to ask about the next steps.

“We also want to make sure that people who don’t need testing aren’t being tested, so we have enough kits to test others,” said Dr. Skolnik.

Doctors today said that they are hoping that the access to testing kits will open up with help from labs outside of the state system, which they are hoping will also reduce the wait time for results. Right now it takes from 3-7 days and they hope it will go down to 1-3 days.

The Carilion Wellness Center announced it would close all facilities beginning Wednesday until further notice.

Watch the press conference below.

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