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Ballad Health Seeing Declines In COVID-19 Cases And Hospitalizations, Will Restart Elective Surgeries

Ballad Health Cases 9.29
Ballad Health
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A graph of weekly new COVID-19 cases in Ballad Health's service area.

The number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ballad Health’s service area of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee has been trending down.

During a news conference Wednesday, Ballad’s chief operating officer Eric Deaton said the number of new cases in its region dropped by about 40% over the past two weeks. The hospital system is treating 324 COVID-19 patients. While that’s still a troubling number, it’s down from a high of 413 a few weeks ago.

Deaton said Ballad will resume some elective surgeries that have been on hold since late August. "These elective cases do not mean 'not necessary.' They’re extremely necessary. They’re extremely important to the person who had to defer that," Deaton said. "And I just want to say thank you. I’m very grateful for the patience many people have had in having to defer these surgeries." The timeline to resume procedures will vary by facility and is dependent on space and staff availability.

Deaton said the testing positivity rate in the region has remained stubbornly high at around 21%. The vaccination rate in the region still trails the Virginia and Tennessee statewide averages. Without a higher percentage of vaccinated people, Deaton said there's concern that colder weather, indoor events and the holidays could bring another spike in cases.

Centra Health Seeing Small Declines

In the Lynchburg area, Centra Health is also reporting slight declines in its number of COVID-19 patients.

Centra had 101 COVID-positive patients at its hospitals in Lynchburg and Farmville Wednesday, down from 104 a week earlier. The hospital system says a large percentage of those patients need care in the ICU.

In a press release, Centra reports 63 COVID-related deaths at Lynchburg General Hospital since September 1st.