RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – Governor Glenn Youngkin has issued a new ordinance that gives Virginia hospitals and nursing homes the flexibility to increase beds and staff when they face ongoing “staffing challenges”.
Youngkin’s order comes after the Virginia Association of Hospitals and Health (VHHA) asked the governor to expand flexible emergency care options, which expire on Monday.
“VHHA requested this extension at a time when the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 is still increased and staffing problems persist, despite the fact that the total number of hospitalizations has decreased after reaching record peaks last month.” said Julian Walker of the Virginia Hospital and Health Association.
The governor’s order, published Jan. 20 with his “COVID-19 Action Plan,” was in line with the measures announced by Governor Ralph Northam at the end of his term. The order temporarily suspended the rules to give hospitals more flexibility to increase bed capacity, telemedicine and staff.
“The governor has expanded emergency care facilities for hospitals by issuing Order 16 and updating the action plan to combat COVID-19,” Yangkin’s aide told 8News’ Autumn Childress. “There was no gap or delay in expanding flexibility in emergencies.”
Yangkin’s original emergency order allows nurses and other health workers outside the state to practice in Virginia, expands overtime and availability for personal care workers, and distributes supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Commonwealth.
The order also allowed the distribution of therapeutic agents in Virginia hospitals that do not have pharmacies.
VHHA tracks Hospitalization in Virginia, use of mechanical ventilation and total number of beds available during the pandemic. The number of hospitalizations has decreased: as of February 21, 1,270 patients with COVID were in the hospital compared to 1990 on February 10.
On Monday, Bon Secours told 8News that they desperately need nurses, surgeons and imaging specialists. Weekend fairs were held at seven hospitals in the Richmond area over the weekend.
This story is evolving. Stay tuned.
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