Coronavirus Update

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Coronavirus Update

Monday, March 16, 2020


As of 5 p.m. Monday, March 16th, 2020, Centra will prohibit visitor access to all four hospitals – Lynchburg General Hospital, Virginia Baptist Hospital, Southside Community Hospital, Bedford Memorial Hospital and the Gretna Emergency Department. Out of an abundance of caution for our patients and caregivers, routine visitors will not be allowed in Centra hospitals until further notice.  Outpatients who have scheduled appointments in the hospitals will be allowed entry.

Very narrow exceptions to this “no visitor” policy will be considered; 

  • For obstetrical patients, one visitor will be permitted
  • For pediatric patients, one visitor will be permitted (parent or legal guardian). 
  • Exceptions will be made for patients receiving end of life care
  • Other exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Approved visitors as well as outpatients with scheduled appointments will be screened prior to entry

Centra is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-10 (Coronavirus). Cases of COVID-19 are being reported in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States, with confirmed cases across the Commonwealth. There have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of our facilities or in the greater Central Virginia community. However, in preparation, Centra has instituted several conservative measures for Centra caregivers as well as our community in preventing the transmission in our facilities and beyond.

Centra has developed a COVID-19 Task Force, that includes 55 individuals across the system in various roles. Some members of this task force are also part of the COVID-19 Incident Command team (HICS). This team meets daily, reviewing the current situation and acting accordingly. All COVID-19 decisions are coming through these teams.

We continue to plan on quickly identifying any potential patient under investigation (PUI) for Coronavirus and our efforts to prevent transmission. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) conducted a conference call Tuesday, January 28th for all healthcare facilities in the state. VDH is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the monitoring of the outbreak. Due to the continued spread of the Coronavirus, the entire region of China will be included in Centra’s assessment for travel history. 

Visitation Restrictions Centra implemented flu visitation restrictions due to the uptick of confirmed flu cases presenting within our system in January 2020. Due to the Coronavirus, and other equally dangerous communicable illnesses within our community, we have updated those restrictions, which are effective immediately.

  •  Visitation is limited to healthy adults
  •  Do not visit if you are sick, have a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache, muscle or joint pain
  •  For protection of children and patients, visitation will be restricted to individuals 15 years of age and older (visitors under the age of 15 will be asked to leave)
  •  No more than two visitors at a time per patient

These visitation restrictions will impact all Centra hospitals, nursing homes and the Centra Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center. Preventing transmission of any infectious disease is imperative to keep our patients and caregivers safe.

Centra is also taking measures internally to prevent potential transmission between providers and employees. This includes international and domestic travel restrictions, in-person meeting size restrictions, policies around external visitors and vendors. 

As always, follow these tips to help prevent the spread of  coronavirus, flu, and other respiratory viruses. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 For more information on the Coronavirus, visit