Seven hospitals in Richmond region near spring season peak levels of COVID hospitalizations


RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — At least seven hospitals in Central Virginia now care for nearly the same amount of patients inflicted with COVID–19 as they did during the spring season peak of the pandemic.

HCA Healthcare tells 8News their seven Richmond region hospitals are on that list: Chippenham Hospital, Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, Retreat Doctors’ Hospital, Parham Doctors’ Hospital, Johnston-Willis Hospital, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center and John Randolph Medical Center.

“Generally we’ve had a pretty constant flow of patients requiring hospitalizations. We are seeing an uptick now though,” HCA’s Chief Medical Officer in Virginia Dr. Jake O’Shea said Monday.

As coronavirus cases rise across the commonwealth, the patient intake comparison to spring season peak levels may be of immediate concern to some–uncertainty that available beds are cut short if disease spread is not curtailed.

However, HCA’s Chief Medical Officer in Virginia Dr. Jake O’Shea maintains, care has improved and professionals have learned a lot since the initial surge.

O’Shea said less than 10% of available ICU beds are occupied by COVID–19 patients within HCA’s regional facilities; pointing to improved therapies, plus, medicinal and steroid usage are helping keep people off ventilators and heading into recovery.

“We’re seeing a patient population that’s a little bit younger than we were earlier on. I think we’ve done a better job now or a really good job now of protecting our most vulnerable citizens from this disease. I think we have better therapies than we did,” O’Shea said.

Although O’Shea said Central Virginia does not appear to be falling into situations like hospitals in the Midwest becoming overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, situations could turn on a dime.

“That’s the thing I think we’re the most watchful for is: ‘do we have any evidence that we are getting overwhelmed, and unable to care for the people who need help?’ And I can tell you right now we don’t have any evidence of that, everything in our hospitals is going well. But we watch it daily,” O’Shea said.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, health professionals worry of another uptick in infections.

“Many of us are a little concerned that Thanksgiving could leave lead to another big spike in this illness,” O’Shea added.

Unlike HCA healthcare, a spokesperson for VCU Health told 8News last week via email, current hospitalization admissions are not similar to figures experienced during the spring surge.

“…we are observing that a lower percentage of patients with a positive diagnosis requires hospitalization compared to the spring,” Alexandra Nowak, senior public relations specialist at VCU, said in a statement.

However, Nowak acknowledged a recent increase in people needing care at VCU Medical Center over recent weeks.

A public relations representative for Bon Secours did not share similar information. 

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