Sentara launches COVID dashboard tracking how many of its beds are taken by coronavirus patients

·2 min read

Sentara Healthcare has created a tool to be more transparent about the volume of coronavirus patients each of its hospitals is treating daily.

Launched Tuesday, the data dashboard tracks the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients by hospital location and what percentage of the hospital’s total inpatients they represent. Sentara operates seven hospitals in Hampton Roads.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 44 patients with positive cases at Norfolk General Hospital and 22 at Virginia Beach General Hospital. Each represented 8% of their respective hospitals’ admitted patients. But at Careplex Hospital in Hampton, there were 29, making up 21% of patients.

Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City, N.C., has 21 COVID-19 patients. That means one out of every four of its beds is taken by someone sick with the virus.

The resource is intended to help people understand the pandemic’s trends in their community. It will be updated at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday.

Throughout the state, there were 2,111 hospitalized patients for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. More than one in four of those people were in an intensive care bed. About 60% of the COVID-19 patients in an ICU were on ventilators.

Hospitals started to get busy in August with the rise of the delta variant, a more contagious strain of the virus. In addition to COVID-19 cases, health workers are seeing higher demand for other health concerns that may have been delayed earlier in the pandemic.

Sentara representatives said they want to urge patients to seek care at the appropriate medical facility to avoid long waits in the emergency room: People who need a COVID-19 test but are not severely ill should not go to a hospital emergency department.

Usually, hospital leaders shy away from revealing details about hospital capacity because of the possible consequences. When people think hospitals are overcrowded, patients tend to stay away and don’t get care, even if they need it, Dr. Jordan Asher, chief physician executive for Sentara, said in an interview in August.

But as the pandemic has become a protracted crisis, the system decided the benefits of providing the information outweighed potential consequences.

Kelly Kennedy, a Sentara spokeswoman, said people should never put off medical attention if they’re having an emergency. Even when hospitals are experiencing surges, the staff are trained to meet the need, she said.

Hospitals have the flexibility to shift staff and beds, either within a facility or to others. They may transfer patients when one or more hospitals is overcrowded.

To view the dashboard, visit https://www.sentara.com/covid-19-information/hospitalized-patient-dashboard.aspx.

Elisha Sauers, 757-839-4754, elisha.sauers@pilotonline.com

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