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COVID-19 and flu season: We're prepared for another surge in patients

Surgery team prepping operating room

As we head into flu season, an increase in COVID-19 cases is expected in our area. Many more Virginians may need clinical care this fall and winter.

Since COVID-19 began its spread across the United States early this year, we have been working with the Virginia Department of Health, Richmond area healthy systems and local leaders to monitor the course of the disease and develop plans for another surge. Safety is our top priority — for our patients, our staff and our community.

We learn and grow with an expanded knowledge base

As we’ve learned more about the coronavirus, its effect on the human body and how to treat it, we’ve added new processes and technologies to save more lives and slow infection rates.

To deliver safe, high-quality care:

  • We cross-trained our teams to support surge-related needs. We can reassign team members quickly if we need to.

  • We ramped up our in-house testing to identify, isolate and care for those with COVID-19. Our testing protocols support state efforts to map and manage the pandemic.

  • We implemented an evidence-based process for decontaminating and reusing N-95 masks, allowing us to replenish our own supply. N95 masks are an essential personal protective equipment (PPE) used by health care workers. We have the ability to decontaminate up to 12,000 N95 masks per day, making sure our team members have the right PPE to safely care for all patients.

  • We test our patients for COVID-19 before they are admitted to our hospital and before surgeries and procedures. We care for COVID-19 patients in single-occupancy rooms and have designated COVID-19 units.

  • We deliver high-quality telehealth services so you can see your doctors, nurses and other clinical staff from the comfort of your own home. We schedule virtual visits for routine appointments, and provide no-appointment virtual urgent care.

  • We have increased our remote patient monitoring program that allows us to help hospitalized patients go home earlier and finish recovery at home.

  • We continue to enroll a large number of COVID-19 patients in clinical trials that help provide critical and useful information in the fight against COVID-19.

  • Everyone working in our hospitals and clinics is required to get a flu shot and wear a mask to keep themselves and others safe.

  • We increased our supply of ventilators.

We keep our surge plan up to date

Our hospitals keep COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients safe.

  • We created room for more patients in Richmond and South Hill earlier this year. We equipped these facilities to serve as temporary hospitals if needed.

  • We added ICU and medical/surgical beds so we can care for the most critically ill patients at VCU Medical Center.

  • We can convert some of our operating rooms to inpatient rooms if necessary. 

We can care for COVID-19 patients as well as patients with other health needs.

  • We can increase our telehealth and home monitoring programs based on our surge needs.

  • We can change our visitation policy and postpone non-urgent procedures and in-person treatments to preserve PPE, ventilators and other equipment in case of a surge.

  • We can perform COVID-19 and flu tests in our in-house lab.

  • We continue to provide life-saving care, including transplants, during the pandemic.

  • We do everything to keep our team members safe. This includes appropriate PPE, regular training and COVID testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic team members.

We collaborate with the state and local communities

We work with other health systems, local and state governments, and our communities to coordinate services and share resources.

  • We have regular calls with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Bon Secours Mercy Health and HCA Virginia to share data and plan how we can work together to provide safe care for our communities.

  • We are working closely with the VDH, other area health care systems and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support a statewide plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines are approved for public use.

  • Along with Henrico County and Richmond City Health Districts, we’ve created an online resource guide to connect local business leaders with the latest information on how to reopen safely during the pandemic.

By staying healthy, you can help save resources

We continue to learn, plan, and evaluate as we prepare for a possible surge this winter. We will provide ongoing updates and communications as they evolve.

For more information on our COVID-19 safety measures, please visit this COVID-19 page or visit our COVID-19 news center.