Provided by Sentara Health
Sentara Healthcare has been awarded a contract from the Department of General Services and Virginia Department of Health to help increase Virginia’s COVID-19 testing capabilities through a new partnership, Virginia’s OneLab Network. The OneLab Network will expand testing capabilities throughout the Commonwealth by contracting with health systems to directly support public health efforts such as outbreak investigations, community testing events, and other priority testing needs. Sentara Laboratory Services is one of three health laboratories across the Commonwealth to be selected.
Through the OneLab Network, Sentara Lab Services will perform COVID-19 tests for the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) focusing on Virginia’s eastern region, in addition to supporting current patient testing needs.
Funding from this partnership will allow Sentara to purchase additional testing equipment and increase in-house testing capabilities to meet demand. Currently, Sentara Labs are completing roughly 1,200 COVID-19 tests per day with a 24-hour to 48-hour turnaround time. Once the OneLab Network is operational, Sentara expects to be able to complete an additional 1,000 tests per day.
Sentara Healthcare prepares for a COVID-19 vaccine
Sentara Healthcare is meeting regularly with state and federal officials as several potential COVID-19 vaccines make their way through clinical trials. Immunization with a safe and effective vaccine is a key component of the United States’ strategy to reduce the severity of, and deaths attributed to, the virus.
- Sentara Healthcare has agreed to be an early adopter of COVID-19 vaccine administration as part of the Commonwealth’s Unified Command and VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.
- Sentara has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce to develop a plan, guidance, and clear communication for team members and community.
- Sentara expects to receive a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines upon Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) approval and nation-wide distribution.
- Upon procurement, the voluntary COVID-19 vaccine will be first available to high risk healthcare employees using a phased approach consistent among hospitals in Virginia. Virginia hospitals have come together through the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) and agreed upon a standard stratification of eligible employees, based on risks.
- Healthcare workers with the highest risk of COVID-19 exposure will be given priority (example: COVID inpatient units and emergency personnel).
- The COVID-19 vaccine will be VOLUNTARY/OPTIONAL for Sentara employees. No one will be required to receive the vaccine.
Sentara to receive limited supply of COVID-19 antibody treatment drug
Sentara is expected to receive a small supply of a recently FDA-approved drug designed to prevent people with mild to moderate COVID-19 cases from getting sicker. The drug, bamlanivimab (bam for short), received Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) and is expected to ship to state governments for healthcare distribution this week.
The goal is to keep patients from needing hospitalization. Treatment will be delivered in one dose through infusion, with coordination from the patient and their physician. Sentara’s COVID-19 Taskforce is currently creating new processes and procedures to offer this treatment to those in need, with a model to ensure that limited supplies are targeting at-risk populations equitably.
Sentara continues to conserve PPE and increase storage supply
Sentara Healthcare continues to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and increase storage supply, including making international connections to secure millions of pieces of PPE. It’s important for the community to understand Sentara is prepared and protecting employees and patients.
During the uncertain times in April and May, when traditional supply chains were no longer available, Sentara stepped outside its normal procedures and partnered with Regulus Global, an international logistics firm based in Virginia Beach. This new partner, typically focused on securing military supplies, helped secure ten planeloads of PPE, at a cost of approximately $30 million for Sentara.
Additionally, as part of Sentara’s plan to buy local, they recently committed to a large supply of procedure masks from a new Virginia Beach based supplier, PPE Premium. Earlier in the year, Sentara partnered with another Virginia Beach company, London Bridge Trading, to make needed PPE for the system. These innovative partnerships have been instrumental in Sentara meeting the additional demands of PPE this year.
Sentara has adequate supply of PPE and continues to use new and existing partners to secure more. Sentara also continues to safely reprocess N-95 masks using a CDC-approved hydrogen peroxide misting process.
COVID-19 holiday guidance from the CDC
All public and private gatherings in Virginia must be limited to 25 people, down from 250. This applies to indoor and outdoor settings. All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. Get more info.
The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you do plan to travel or spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take these steps to make your celebration safer:
- Enjoy Thanksgiving with a smaller grouping of people
- Connect virtually with family and friends
- Wear a mask
- Stay at least six feet away from those who do not live with you
- Wash your hands often
- Celebrate outdoors