Chippenham, Johnston-Willis Hospitals CEO says more COVID-19 tests are now available

Posted at 6:00 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 18:49:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The CEO of two hospitals in Central Virginia said they’ve increased their testing capabilities for COVID-19 compared to just last week.

Dr. William Lunn, CEO of HCA Virginia’s Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Hospitals, said doctors are testing more patients “who are high-risk or highly symptomatic from disease.”

“Some of the kits were defected and some of those kits have been repaired and replenished,” Lunn explained. “Everyday we see more tests available and we also have commercially available tests from LabCorp and Quest.”

At Chippenham Hospital in Richmond, Lunn said their bed capacity is around 80 percent right now, which is what hospitals usually aim for. His hospital was among the first in the area to begin screening people at the door for coronavirus symptoms.

He urged people if they’re sick to call their doctor and consult whether symptoms warrant a trip to the emergency room.

“We are still going to have people with strokes and heart attacks,” Lunn stated. “This needs to be the place where they can feel safe and come and that remains that way today.”

Lunn stated “it’s really business as usual in terms of bed capacity and our ability to handle patients at this point.”

“The worst is yet to come," says emergency room doctor

Dr. Carlton Stadler has watched the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic firsthand.

As a member of the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians, Stadler works as a doctor in a local emergency room.

He described the current ER client as “controlled chaos.”

“We said a few weeks ago that it’s not if, but when. When is now. When is here,” Stadler explained. “As more tests become available the amount of positives are going to go up and that’ll incite more fear in everyone’s eyes.”

Stadler urged patients to reserve space in the ER for those who are the very sick.

“The last thing anybody wants to do is have their care put off for those that are not as sick,” he stated. “I think the worst is yet to come.”

He advised people to continue washing their hands and practice social distancing.

“I think people are downplaying exactly what social distancing is,” Stadler said. “People are still going out to restaurants, people are still going to get their nails done and hair done.

Social distancing includes avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining approximately 6 feet from others when possible.

Stadler’s precautions he now takes at home may seem extreme.

“We’ve done certain measures at my house to distance me from the children. My wife has already told me I have to get undressed at the door and shoes have to come off,” Stadler explained.

“I’ll tell you nobody wants to play with my kids because I’m on the front lines,” he joked.