augusta free press news

Augusta Health: No positive COVID-19 tests, but getting ready

Augusta HealthAugusta Health is still not reporting a positive coronavirus test, and hospital officials are working on improving testing and in particular getting a quicker turnaround on test results.

These were two highlights from a media briefing provided by Augusta Health Monday.

The Augusta Health COVID Care Call Center set up late last week had received 190 calls as of Sunday evening. Most – being 97 percent – didn’t report having a medical emergency, but 70 percent experiencing symptoms, mainly cough, that could fit the COVID-19 profile.

More from those numbers: 41 percent of the callers ended up needing screening, and 23.5 percent ended up being referred to the assessment center set up by Augusta Health for additional on-site screening.

Good place here to get the phone number for the call center back out: 540.322.5122.

The call center is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Word is that due to the locations of commercial labs, test results have been averaging four to five days.

Augusta Health officials are actively engaged in discussions with labs that can accommodate a 24- to 48-hour turnaround.


Augusta Health, for now, has sufficient supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment), but noting that this could change quickly based on the incidence of COVID-19 within the community, the hospital is accepting the following donations:

  • Masks: N95, dust masks, medical face masks and surgical masks, as well as those handmade by our community. The face mask pattern may be found here:
  • Hand sanitizer: Ecolab Nourishing Foam is preferred, but other brands/types appreciated.
  • Hand soap: Scott Antimicrobial Foam Skin Cleanser is preferred, but other brands/types appreciated.
  • Disposable gloves: non-latex.

Please call or email the Augusta Health Foundation before coming to Augusta Health if you or your business have these supplies on hand and are willing to donate them to support Augusta Health. The Foundation’s Office can be reached at: 540-332-5174 or

Elective Surgeries Update

Augusta Health is, and has been, in compliance with all CMS guidance for elective and non-essential surgeries.  As a result, we are:

  • Limiting all non-essential adult elective surgery and medical/surgical procedures, including all dental procedures.
  • All non-urgent screenings are being rescheduled to May.
  • Radiologic specialty procedures are also limited.

Surge Capacity Update

Emergency Surge Capacity is modeled to the CDC Guidelines, Augusta Health tells us. These guidelines change daily and are dependent on the number of cases in your immediate community.

In the current situation:

  • Augsuta Health does have a CDC-compliant Surge Plan in place.
  • We are in a lower tier of community cases.
  • Hospital officials are actively testing our surge plans.

Community health recommendations

Food Delivery Updates: Questions were posed regarding safety of food deliveries. Both the CDC and FDA have said there is no evidence at this time that the virus can be transmitted via food. Local restaurants are all certified by the Health Department. Recommendations include:

  • All packaging be sanitized and thrown out as soon as possible
  • Consumers wash their hands before and after eating

Stay home! This is the most important way for us to help ensure we will have the beds, ventilators, masks, tests, and supplies necessary to meet the needs of our valued community. This is a real and direct way people can contribute and help reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our community.