UPDATE: Galax clinic to reopen after elevated radon levels detected

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GALAX, Va. (WDBJ7) UPDATE

The Galax clinic closed because of elevated radon levels will reopen.
See full statement from Carilion here:

The Carilion Clinic Galax Family and Internal Medicine practices will resume regular operations Monday, Oct. 2. The Galax Family Practice walk-in acute care clinic and the Vaughn-Bassett Employee Health Clinic will open on Saturday, Sept. 30, for regular hours and operations.

Patients needing to confirm an appointment can call the Galax practice. Internal Medicine can be reached at (276) 236-6136; the Family Medicine practice can be reached at (276) 236-5181.

After consulting with Carilion’s Employee Health Department, safety experts and an independent environmental consultant, we are confident that the building is safe for our employees and patients.

Since Friday, Sept. 22, Carilion Clinic has been working to address the higher than normal radon levels found in the leased facility in Galax (199 Hospital Drive). Out of an abundance of caution, the practice was temporarily closed.

Carilion worked with the building’s owners to install a temporary ventilation system to reduce the level of radon in the building. They also are working to implement a long-term solution to continue to meet the practice’s needs in the future.

Earlier this week, an environmental consultant retested the building’s air to confirm that radon levels are at an acceptable level per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines (below 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L)). On Wednesday afternoon, we learned that the levels are now below the EPA guideline, at 2.2 pCi/L in the downstairs of the facility and 1.0 pCi/L upstairs.

During the closure, we also took the opportunity to test for mold and asbestos as well. Test results, which were received this afternoon, showed no concerning levels of mold or asbestos in the building.

Given the challenges with air quality in the Galax facility over the past year, we have established quarterly air quality testing.

Thank you to the community for your patience and understanding as we resolved this issue.

ORIGINAL STORY

A medical clinic in Galax is temporarily closed after concerns of air quality inside the building.

A recent test found an elevated level of radon - an odorless, colorless naturally occurring gas that can be dangerous if trapped inside a building.

A sign on the door tells patients the location is temporarily closed. Carilion made the decision after a staff member here shared concerns of a potential health hazard.

"It's frustrating for both the employees, it's frustrating for the patients, it's frustrating for Carilion in general," said Chris Turnbull, the public relations manager for Carilion Clinics.

A test conducted a week and a half ago shows an average radon level of 4.3 picocuries a liter. The accepted level by the Environment Protection Agency is four.

"Our concern is really making sure that our staff are in a healthy place to work so we're going to take the measures that need to be taken to make sure that this place is safe," Turnbull said.

That could take some time. Environmental professionals are helping the clinic find where the gas is coming into the building. After that's corrected more tests have to be conducted.

For now, all staff are working out of another Carilion Clinic in Hillsville, about 25 minutes away.

"We've expanded some hours. I know the physicians were concerned. We didn't want to limit the hours that our patients could get there," Turnbull said.

The Hillsville locations number and address is on the door referring all patients there. 276-728-7721, or visit 410 South Main Street in Hillsville.

This is the second time this building has been temporarily closed within the last year. In December a mold issue in some rooms temporarily closed the building for a few days.

Carilion tells us it plans to reopen the clinic as soon as possible, but no date has been set.