Virginia emergency doctors call on governor to declare state of emergency

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing in Virginia, emergency rooms are facing an increase in the number of people seeking help from hospitals.

the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians (VACEP) calls on Governor Ralph Northam to declare another state of emergency so hospitals can access additional resources to help deal with the influx of patients into these emergency departments.

“I worked every day last week, and these are probably the worst shifts I have worked during the pandemic,” said Dr. Todd Parker, president-elect of the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians.

Parker, who works in the Hampton Roads area, said the sheer volume of patients entering emergency rooms was overwhelming.

Around the same time last year, staff were primarily dealing with severe cases of COVID-19, but the final weeks of 2021 were different.

“We still see that, but we also have the overwhelming background volume of all of these other people coming in that we didn’t have that much before,” Parker said.

This is why the group of emergency doctors calls on the governor to declare a state of emergency. The hope is to get health leaders to access more resources.

“It gives us more options, whether it’s telehealth, offsite testing centers, testing in the emergency parking lot, etc.,” Parker said. “There are a number of things we cannot do under normal circumstances. “

VACEP has also stated that the following could occur under a declaration:

  • Enable the Commonwealth to provide disaster funding and access federal dollars to support the response and increase personnel levels
  • Enable emergency departments and hospitals to adopt protocols to assess or treat patients more effectively (such as using telehealth or providing care outside the walls of an emergency department)
  • Help emergency services allocate scarce resources more appropriately

Access to COVID-19 testing is in high demand. According to Parker, some patients go to the emergency room just to take a COVID-19 test.

“We see the problems and the disparities in access to health care,” he added. “We are the health care providers that provide the safety net for Virginians. “

Meanwhile, with the students due to return to school next week, three congressional women from Virginia – U.S. Reps Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) and Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) – sent a letter to Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin calling on him to expand Virginia’s Test to Stay program.

This would use US bailout funds to increase access to testing among students and staff to keep schools open.

A spokesperson for Youngkin’s office said he received the letter and reviewed it.

“The state is overwhelmed with money right now, and it needs to put resources into it so that patients have access to care, to tests and not to have to turn to the emergency services as the only place to go. they can go, ”Parker says.

NBC12 contacted the governor’s office on Friday regarding the state of emergency request. Although a spokesperson declined to comment directly, we were told there was no news today.

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