Virginia hits pause on plans for 3 large field hospitals

Posted at 10:42 AM, Apr 22, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam's office says plans to convert three convention centers across Virginia into field hospitals as part of the state’s coronavirus response have been put on hold.

Northam's spokeswoman says recent trends suggest Virginia has sufficient hospital bed capacity to deal with the pandemic in the short term.

The sites could still be a possibility if things change, but work to build them out has not begun.

Northam announced in early April that convention centers in Richmond, Hampton and northern Virginia would be converted and were expected to be in place within about six weeks.

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COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.