Centra anticipates late peak in Virginia COVID-19 cases

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)-- "Our peak is going to occur as much as a month later than many other parts of the country," said Andy Mueller, Centra President and CEO.

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Centra Health has 26 cases of coronavirus in its coverage area as of Tuesday.

However, they don't believe Virginia has come close to the maximum for number of cases.

"So we expect that the peak number of cases and peak demand for hospital services will occur sometime in mid-May," said Mueller.

Those projections come from models out of the University of Washington.

While Centra says it's prepared to handle whatever's next, it's now ordered six more ventilators to meet any future demand.

"And then there are also seven additional ventilators in our communities in educational facilities that if we needed to, we could potentially ask to have those recalled to our health system to provide additional support," said Mueller.

They've also performed about 500 tests, where the wait time has been about five days per test.

However, as more testing becomes available, bottle-necking could causes return times to lag.

"We're seeing increasingly that the more tests within the state that are sent out, the more 10-day, 11-day turnaround times that we have, and that duration is almost an entire 14-day quarantine," said Chris Thomson, chief medical officer.

Despite this, Centra looks to gather testing kits that have sharply lower return times in the next few weeks.

"People have heard about the Abbott rapid turnaround test. We've heard about Cepheid, which is another test that we're actually planning to implement in the next, ideally, within the next three weeks," said Thomson.

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