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VHHA president, CEO: Youngkin COVID order ‘welcome,’ ‘necessary step’

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin today issued an executive order allowing Virginia hospitals to expand the number of available hospital beds and allowing hospitals and nursing homes to increase staff capacity.

The executive order, part of Youngkin’s COVID Action Plan, was met with a big thank you from Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton.

“We sincerely thank Gov. Glenn Youngkin for taking the important step of issuing an executive order to authorize hospitals and health care providers to meet the challenges they currently face,” Connaughton said. “Gov. Youngkin’s Executive Order is a welcome and necessary step to grant important flexibilities to frontline providers and Virginia hospitals as they continue to battle this pandemic surge.”

According to the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia has reported 103,621 COVID cases in the past seven days, down from the 129,444 cases for the week ending Jan. 13, which was a high in the Commonwealth for the duration of the nearly two-year pandemic.

The VHHA COVID dashboard reports that there are 3,868 people with COVID in Virginia hospitals today, down from the pandemic high of 3,948 registered two days ago.

Before the recent omicron surge, the high was 3,201 patients with COVID in Virginia hospitals on Jan. 13, 2021.

“Through two years and five surges, Virginia hospitals and their staff have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, having treated and discharged more than 86,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, administered millions of vaccines doses, and conducted even more tests,” Connaughton said. “In the past month, Virginia hospitals have encountered some of the most challenging circumstances seen since the pandemic began.

“A rapidly escalating surge has led to record-setting hospitalizations that are straining the capacity of the health care delivery system, its staff, and resources. Already weary frontline caregivers are being asked to do more even as the highly-transmissible Omicron variant has caused illness leading to staff shortages that make an existing health care staffing crisis even worse. An effective hospital response to this surge necessitates support from the public and partners in government to ensure continuity of operations so that patients can receive the care they need,” Connaughton said.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press
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