Centra moves to new restrictions on non-essential visits

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)-- An emergency. That's what Centra is treating the COVID-19 pandemic as.

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With close to 300 cases in Virginia, the spread of the virus has not slowed down.

For the Centra coverage area, two new cases have been confirmed.

However, there are new practices Centra will undertake to help fight the spread.

"One of the things we are doing is we're expanding our telephonic and virtual care options for our patients. We have the ability to engage our patients today through all of those mediums to make sure they're getting follow-up and appropriate care," said Andy Mueller, Centra President and CEO.

The expanded telehealth capabilities come out of new restrictions on elective clinical visits.

Now, regardless of age, all non-essential visits will be rescheduled or cared for over the phone.

"And then of course if they're sick, we can still see them. So, if patients do have acute needs, we can still see those and accommodate those patients in our clinics with a provider today," said Mueller.

Meanwhile, the apex for cases likely still remains. Centra says the effort they're making now, along with other guidelines in place, will lower that impact.

"The isolation procedures and the isolation recommendations that seem to be drastic, again, but really do help that number significantly as we look into the future several days or even several weeks," said Chris Thomson, chief medical officer.

However, the commitment to virtual visits after the pandemic is over will help relieve some of the backlog that will be created.

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