HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A Hampton Roads-based hospital group is staying stocked up and prepared for whatever may lie ahead this fall and winter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it's real, and I think that it's very concerning for all of us about a second wave,” Dr. Joel Bundy, Sentara Healthcare’s Chief Quality and Safety Officer told News 3.
Wednesday, News 3 got an inside look at Sentara Healthcare’s supply warehouse in Hampton Roads, housing millions of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items to serve a dozen hospitals across Virginia and North Carolina.
Inside their warehouse, you’d find anything from gowns to masks and face shields.
“We're conserving PPE at every opportunity, and we're also purchasing it at every opportunity,” Sentara spokesperson Dale Gauding said.
“Do we have enough fluids, do we have IVs, those sorts of things,” Bundy said. “We have tents and we have supplies to power those tents, so if we did have to expand outside of the brick and mortar, we could do so.”
Sentara officials said the group has all kinds of supplies, and different planning scenarios.
“If we have increases over the next couple of weeks let's say, or there's a big surge at one time, we set up scenarios for both of those,” Bundy said.
“If we had a scenario where we had a lot of COVID-19 patients at our hospitals, so that it was overwhelming our system, we do have metrics where we look at number of beds used, number of ICU beds used, those sort of things, we'll then stand back up our incident command center,” Bundy added. “That's the kind of thing that we would - that command center, in partnership with other systems, in partnership with the state - we would actually make those kinds of decisions together.”
Dr. Bundy said Sentara also has the ability to expand into field hospitals, if needed.
“These are the kinds of hospitals where we can take care of hundreds and hundreds of patients, if need be,” he said. “We've already planned with the state geographically. Obviously, we'd want to put something up in Northern Virginia, in the Charlottesville-Harrisonburg area, where we have two hospitals right in that area, and then of course down here in Hampton Roads.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Ralph Northam named locations, including the Hampton Roads Convention Center, to be used for alternative care sites during the pandemic.
Wednesday afternoon, Alena Yarmosky with the Office of the Governor, released this statement to News 3:
“Virginia has no plans to move forward with alternative care sites at this time. Current hospitalization rates are well below their peak in May, and we are comfortable with available system capacity -- including available hospital beds, ICU beds, medical staff, and ventilators. it is important Virginians remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines, particularly as we move into the colder months.”
Bundy said preparation always is key.
“We're talking about COVID-19 now, but we talked about similar things before with Ebola, and we have to think about this every year when it comes to hurricane season,” he said. “What happens if we have to evacuate? What happens to the community? So, we have to take care of them and their healthcare needs.”
He added Sentara is confident they’re supplied and ready for anything in the weeks and months ahead.
“We know we have to be prepared because our community depends on us to be able to deliver when the time comes,” he said.