Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 continue to climb in the Lynchburg area.
As of Thursday afternoon, 154 patients with COVID-19 occupied beds at Centra’s Lynchburg General, Southside Community and Bedford Memorial hospitals, up from 112 last week. The previous high was 109 patients, set in September.
Of the 154 patients presently hospitalized, 115 are not vaccinated.
The number of patients in Centra’s intensive care unit as of Thursday afternoon stood at 21, of whom 12 have been placed on ventilators. Of those patients in intensive care, 17 are unvaccinated.
As a result of the rising case count, Centra is temporarily suspending all visitation at its hospitals, emergency departments, urgent care facilities, primary care practices and Centra Medical Group locations. The restriction does not apply to clergy, parents of minors, doulas and support personnel, Centra said in a news release. Exceptions will be made for end-of-life care.
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The change took effect Thursday.
The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases has added significant stress on area emergency rooms, creating long waits. Centra’s news release noted the hospital census at all Centra facilities is at or beyond normal capacity and the testing capability in the Lynchburg area is strained.
VDH reported 198 confirmed new COVID-19 cases Thursday in Lynchburg alone, down from a high of 320 new confirmed cases set Saturday. The seven-day average of new cases per day jumped from 143 last week to 180.
Statewide, 18,942 cases were reported Thursday, which comes on the heels of a statewide single-day record of 26,175 set Saturday.
In Lynchburg, 45.1% of the population is fully vaccinated and 19.7% have received a booster shot, according to the health department.
Across the Central Virginia Health District, which includes the city plus the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell, vaccination rates range from 47.9% to 51.5%.
Centra’s catchment area for Lynchburg General Hospital and Southside Community Hospital covers Lynchburg and the surrounding counties, the Farmville area and several smaller satellite locations.
Due to the community spread, the following testing events are upcoming:
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency (2323 Memorial Ave., Suite #10) and Bedford General Surgery (1615 Oakwood St. Suite D, Bedford) through Jan. 29.
From 1 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency (2323 Memorial Ave., Suite #10) through Jan. 26.
Tests are available to anyone 16 years and older who has COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in close contact with a person with COVID-19. For those vaccinated, test 5 to 7 days post-exposure. For those unvaccinated, test immediately after exposure and on day 5 to 7.
These clinics are for testing only; provider visits will not be available.