Centra Health sees record number of coronavirus cases

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:27 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - About this time a year ago, Centra Health was experiencing a record number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus.

Now, a year later, they’ve broken that record.

Hospital leaders say more than 150 people are being treated across the system as of Tuesday.

“And frankly, we’re actually still climbing at a fairly rapid rate, which is highly concerning,” said Dr. Chris Lewis, chief clinical officer.

Lewis says the omicron variant is to blame for the latest increase. Most of the patients being treated are unvaccinated.

They say getting a booster can help in the fight.

“There’s mounting evidence that boosted individuals do significantly better in terms of hospitalization and death than those that aren’t boosted,” said Lewis.

But Centra is feeling the pressure in more than one way. They’re seeing a number of caregivers sidelined because of infections.

Although Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent emergency order helps expand staffing capabilities and bed capacity, it won’t help unless there are people to cover those extra beds.

“We can ask for as many beds as necessary, but we can’t ask for as many nurses to staff those beds and that is also a real challenge,” said Dr. Matthew Foster, chief physician executive.

However, they say there could be relief in the near future.

They’re hoping our current wave will peak and begin to decline soon. The UVA COVID-19 Model predicts a state peak January 23.

“We’ve seen it play out in other communities and other countries where you see a very swift upstroke or a very fast surge of increase in COVID,” said Lewis. “There is evidence though that on the other side of it, it leaves the community fairly rapidly.”

They’re also reminding people to not go to the emergency room for a coronavirus test, as it backlogs their system.

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