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Valley Health continues to adjust how they operate in light of the continued coronavirus spread, now shifting to postponing nonessential surgeries and moving toward establishing outpatient test collection sites.

As of right now, there have been 2 confirmed positive tests for the virus in Valley Health’s primary service area; one was being treated at Winchester Medical Center on Tuesday.

“We have seen quite a dramatic shift in our nation’s activities,” Valley Health President and CEO Mark H. Merrill said Thursday. “We are taking a logical and systematic approach in our preparation.” Merrill also added that Valley Health is learning from the experiences of parts of the world that have succeeded in easing the effects of COVID-19.

One of the ways Valley Health is being proactive is by continuing to limit and restrict visitors to their facilities, as well as limiting available entrances to their buildings to easily monitor comings and goings as well as conduct screenings.

Starting Monday, Valley Health hospitals and outpatient centers began postponing all elective and nonessential surgeries and procedures. Folks who require surgeries due to an emergent or urgent condition will, as determined by their physician, still be able to go through their procedures.

In addition to postponing nonessential surgeries, Valley Health has established 2 operational outpatient test collection sites, one in Winchester and one in Front Royal, and more locations will be opening soon. In keeping with the advice from Hampshire County Health Department Director Stephanie Shoemaker, Valley Health is encouraging people to contact their physicians for a referral before showing up to a testing site to be tested. As Shoemaker said last week, “Don’t just show up,” explaining that testing supplies is limited and that folks need to be smart about how they go about seeking care.

The questions that need to be asked are, are you showing symptoms (fever, dry cough and shortness of breath)? Have you traveled from a location with COVID-19? Do you think you may have been exposed? If the answers to these questions are “yes,” Valley Health is encouraging people to call their doctor, answer screening questions and be prepared to be directed accordingly.

If there is an individual who is severely ill or needing emergency care, dispatchers are going to guide 911 callers and EMS responders if COVID-19 is suspected. In keeping with the CDC guidelines, people who are sick should do everything in their power to limit contact as they seek care.

“We’re all in this together,” Merrill reflects. “How can we help our coworkers, patients, families and friends respond safely, rationally and thoughtfully to create the best possible outcomes?”

Merrill also noted that anyone who is able to donate blood should do so, as the supply is low due to canceled donation appointments and general hesitancy to engage with others in a medical setting.

To continue to be up-to-date with Valley Health’s visiting restrictions, establishment of testing sites and cancelations and closings, visit https://www.valleyhealthlink.com/blog/2020/february/what-you-should-know-about-coronavirus/.

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