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COVID-19 Hotline established: Hospital establishes new restrictions

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

As of noon Tuesday, 255 cases of the COVID-19 virus have been discovered in the state of Virginia and this includes the recent discovery of an infected student at Radford University. A total of 38 individuals were hospitalized as a result of the disease and six people have died as a result of the infection.

Twenty people in West Virginia have tested positive for the virus including two in Mercer County but no one has thus far succumbed to the disease in the Mountain State.

To counter the spread, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued a “Stay at Home Order” which went into effect at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 24. This directs all West Virginians to limit movements outside of their homes beyond taking care of essential needs. It also directs employees to stay at home unless they are providing an essential service to the community.

Public health Districts across Virginia have activated call centers for COVID-19. These call centers are designed to answer questions and provide information about the novel COVID-19 virus. Frequently asked questions include queries about what symptoms to look for, how to minimize risk of exposure, local and statewide health conditions and what to do if one starts feeling ill.

Information regarding testing for COVID-19 will also be relayed to callers.

“The best thing people who are sick can do is isolate themselves and their close contacts to avoid spreading infection,” stated Virginia Department of Health Public Information Officer Robert Parker. “We know that 95% of COVID tests are negative which means that the symptoms are caused by something else (flu, RSV, rhinovirus, adenovirus, enterovirus, etc.) We also know that 80-85% of COVID positive individuals (as well as the others mentioned above) will recover at home with symptomatic treatment and isolation.”

The telephone number for the New River Health District, which serves Pulaski, Giles, Montgomery and Floyd counties and the city of Radford is (540) 267-8240. The NRV Health District offices can be called from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday between 8 and noon and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

To reduce the spread of illness, all LewisGale Regional Health facilities, including LewisGale Hospital Pulaski, have implemented additional safety measures to protect patients and visitors.

Until further notice, no visitors will be allowed with the following exceptions:

Laboring mothers are allowed one adult visitor during their stay. Mother-Infant Unit patients are allowed only one adult visitor during their stay. Pediatric patients, including pediatric ER, are allowed only one adult guardian at a time. Patients having surgery are allowed one adult visitor during their stay but exceptions will be made for patients receiving end-of-life care.

Any exceptions to the above require approval from a department director, nursing supervisor or Administrator on call.

All visitors must meet screening criteria to ensure they are not ill or experiencing symptoms when entering these facilities.

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