In the past four weeks, 23 people have died of COVID-19 at Augusta Health in Fishersville. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.
Augusta Health is now operating under 'red surge' conditions, which means that all non-emergency procedures have been put on hold so the staff can care for COVID patients.
Augusta Health is a financial supporter of WMRA. That support does not affect our coverage.
MARY MANNIX: They're tired, they're exhausted, but they're incredibly resilient, and everything that they do they do well. But it's certainly not sustainable in the long run.
Mary Mannix is the president of the health system. She said that, in this recent wave of hospitalizations and deaths, they have at times had to use a mobile morgue trailer provided by the state to accommodate all the dead.
MANNIX: Let's hope that people rise above the polarization of the discussion and focus on life instead of death. When I just conducted my rounds, I saw so many young people that are so critically ill, that have young families … and it would just be preferable if we could increase our vaccination rate in this community and get to what we call herd immunity so that these variants stop morphing and we stop the unnecessary death.
Mannix did apply for medical staffing assistance from the federal government, but was told they were unable to help at this time. She and the staff are hoping that a recent dip in their number of COVID patients could be the start of a trend.
MANNIX: Our prevalence has decreased for the last couple days, as has our testing positivity rate, and so we are hopeful that those could be … true signals that we may be starting to enter a plateau. It's premature to draw that conclusion, but that's what we're praying for.
There are currently 55 patients with COVID at the hospital, down from 63 last week.