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Virginia extends ban on non-emergency surgeries by one week

Posted at 4:40 PM, Apr 23, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam says he will extend a ban on non-emergency surgeries for another week.

Northam's announcement on Thursday came the same day as a group representing more than 100 hospitals in Virginia asked him to allow the ban to expire Friday.

Northam imposed the ban last month in an effort to reserve capacity in the state’s healthcare system for coronavirus patients and personal protective equipment for providers treating those patients.

“My top priority is protecting public health, and that includes ensuring that our frontline medical staff have the equipment they need to stay safe as they treat Virginians who are sick,” said Northam. “We have increased our supply of PPE, but before we allow elective surgeries to resume, we must first be assured that the doctors, nurses, and medical staff who are fighting this virus or conducting emergency surgeries have the necessary supplies. We are working with medical facilities on plans to ensure that we can resume elective surgeries safely and responsibly.”

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association sent Northam a letter saying state hospitals have enough capacity now to treat both coronavirus patients and elective surgery patients.

The group said an estimated 60,000 Virginians have had their nonurgent medical procedures canceled over the past month.