Visitor access to all Centra hospitals is prohibited as of 5 p.m. Monday and all non-essential surgeries and procedures are canceled in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“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” Centra officials said in a news release issued Monday afternoon. Exceptions will be made for obstetrical patients and pediatric patients who may have one visitor each as well as those receiving end-of-life care.

“Other exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis,” and all visitors and outpatients should anticipate being screened prior to entry according to the release.

“We will support and encourage inpatients to connect with family and friends by phone and through other techniques, such as FaceTime or Skype,” Centra said in the release.

The cancellation of non-essential surgeries and procedures is consistent with health systems across the country following the U.S Surgeon General’s recommendation this weekend and is being done at the discretion of individual service lines. Procedures deemed medically necessary will continue while non-essential procedures will be postponed.

“We recognize once this crisis resolves, there will be a backlog and we will thoughtfully work on plans to reschedule these surgeries and procedures in a timely manner. Non-essential procedures and surgeries can largely be thought of as procedures scheduled in physician offices,” Centra said in the release.

As of March 17, routine and elective follow-ups visits for patients over 70 years of age are restricted. Patients may be contacted to move their appointments to telephone consultations to maintain medication management, prescription refills and medical follow up. This will be done at the discretion of individual practices and providers.

The Dawson Inn will be closed until further notice as it may be needed for sick patients in the future. Self-service food and drink items in cafeterias are being shut down and the system will move to provide boxed lunches to maintain social distancing recommendations and prevent the spread of the virus.

Additionally, Centra has set up a hotline for individuals inquiring about COVID-19: (434)200.1225.

Reach Trent at (434) 385-5543

Amy Trent is the City Editor. Reach her at (434) 385-5543

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