HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Sentara Healthcare announced Friday that starting Monday, Jan. 10, it is postponing all hospital-based non-emergent surgeries, procedures and diagnostic testing due to the surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.S., saying its team members are "stretched to their capacity."
The healthcare system said its hospitals are currently treating more COVID-19 patients than ever before and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Sentara facilities more than doubled within the week and more than quadrupled within the last month.
Impacted procedures, surgeries and diagnostic testing will be rescheduled after the current surge has passed. Patients with an impacted surgery or procedure will be contacted directly with further information.
"The current strain on all healthcare facilities is undeniable. We must balance the urgent need to care for large numbers of COVID-19 patients with what is being asked of our dedicated staff," said Mike Gentry, Sentara Healthcare executive vice president and chief operating officer. "We cannot care for our community without first supporting our team members as they so expertly manage this large number of patients."
The current pause on non-emergent procedures, surgeries and diagnostic testing will allow Sentara to reassign skilled team members to other areas with a more urgent need. All lifesaving and emergency surgeries and procedures will continue.
If you need medical care, you can still utilize a virtual care appointment, an in-office visit with Sentara Medical Group or visit a Sentara emergency room if urgent.
Here's what to do if your procedure, surgery or diagnostic test is postponed:
- Patients whose non-emergent surgery, procedure or test has been rescheduled will be contacted directly by their physician or a Sentara care team member.
- Patients will be given further instructions by their Sentara care team and resources to address any questions.
- Patients should stay in contact with their physicians and care team and discuss any changes in their health or medical condition.
- Delayed procedures, surgeries and diagnostic testing will be rescheduled as soon as we are able to do so.
The healthcare system also offered some tips on how to stay safe during the pandemic.
- The majority our hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, even during the Omicron surge. Those who are fully vaccinated and hospitalized have other medical conditions that put them at high-risk. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot is the best way to protect yourself and others from severe illness. Find a vaccine provider near you by visiting www.vaccinefinder.org.
- Because the current COVID-19 variant is more transmissible, there is higher risk for infection throughout our communities. We recommend you wear a mask in all public locations (indoors or outdoors) and avoid large crowds and gatherings.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you start to develop mild COVID-19 symptoms, isolate at home, get tested for COVID-19 if you can and follow CDC isolation guidelines. Visit www.Sentara.com/testing to find a testing location near you.