Elkins, WV – 811 individuals were tested for COVID-19 on Saturday, May 30, during drive-thru events held in Mill Creek and Elkins. As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, the Randolph –Elkins Health Department reports that the results on 809 of the specimens were received and were negative. The two additional specimens were returned to the state lab due to labelling errors, but the health department expects those results later today or Wednesday.
“This is extremely good news for the county,” said REHD Director of Threat Preparedness Bonnie Woodrum. “The results show that the outbreak at Huttonsville Correctional Center (HCC) has been contained thus far, and community spread associated with that outbreak has been very minimal.”
Woodrum said those practicing safety precautions like social distancing and face masks are making a difference in community spread by protecting themselves and others. She added that these measures are still very important in minimizing the risk of a community outbreak.
“We saw at HCC how quickly the virus could pass from one or two infected people to more than a hundred inmates and staff. We absolutely should not relax our precautionary measures,” she said.
The State Center for Threat Preparedness has determined that an additional Randolph County community sampling is not necessary at this time but may be requested later in June.
Health department staff are making calls to all individuals who were tested at drive-thru locations on Saturday. Please wait for one of their representatives to call you with your results.
Randolph County Collects over 800 COVID-19 Tests
On Saturday, May 30, the Elkins-Randolph County Health Department (REHD) collected more than 800 COVID-19 tests at two drive-thru locations in Elkins and Mill Creek. The test swabs were transported to LabCorp, a state designated laboratory for analysis.
“We expect to begin calling with results within five days,” said REHD Director of Threat Preparedness Bonnie Woodrum. “We ask that people please not call the health department for their results. We can complete all required reporting steps more efficiently if people can wait until they are contacted. We understand people may be anxious and will turn them around as quickly as possible once we receive them.”
The collection site at Valley HealthCare in Mill Creek provided 313 tests. Davis Medical Center used all 500 tests made available by the WV Center for Threat Preparedness.
According to Woodrum, the operations at both locations were well coordinated. Valley HealthCare provided testing from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m.; and, DMC exhausted their #500 supply of test swabs by 2 p.m.
“The collaboration of all groups and volunteers was exceptional, especially considering we had less than 48 hours to plan and prepare,” said Woodrum. “It shows amazing teamwork among our healthcare, public health and emergency services groups. I thank them all for their assistance.”
Representatives who helped with the screenings included the REHD, Emergency Medical Services, Office of Emergency Management/911, Elkins City Police, Randolph County Sherriff’s Department, Valley HealthCare, Tucker County Health Department and Davis Medical Center.
The request for a large Randolph County community screening came from the WV Center for Threat Preparedness, which is a division of the WV Department of Health and Human Resources. The screening will serve as a population sampling to determine if there is community spread, and if so, to what extent.
Understanding Community Spread of COVID
As additional cases of the coronavirus are identified in Randolph County, Davis Medical Center is receiving questions about virus spread in the community. Davis Health System Chief Medical Officer Catherine Chua, DO, FAAFP, FMNM, CPE, explains community spread and steps residents can take to help minimize it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes “community spread” as those people who have been infected with the virus in an area, including those who aren’t sure how or where they became infected.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing more widespread coronavirus activity reach our rural areas. How much the disease spreads may be the result of how seriously our community leaders and citizens follow safety guidelines,” said Chua. “Because the infection rate is high, social distancing and other preventive measures are extremely important.”
Randolph County saw infection rates jump from a single-digit to over 120 confirmed cases in less than 14 days which highlights how a low-case area can quickly become a viral epicenter.
“Coronavirus is highly contagious, and infected people can be asymptomatic, which means they are feeling or displaying no symptoms. Right now there could be asymptomatic people, wandering about, unknowingly spreading the virus to others,” said Chua.
“Consider this, let’s say a person with COVID self-quarantines at home, not interacting with anyone. The virus does not transmit to one, two or three other people. And those one, two or three persons who did not contract the virus, now cannot affect an additional three, six or nine people. Social distancing is still the best tool we have to stop the rapid spread of Covid.”
When maintaining a 6-foot distance from others is difficult, the CDC recommends that people wear face coverings in public places.
“Sneezing, coughing, speaking and singing can produce particles that can travel up to 6 feet and land on other people or surfaces. If the particles reach the eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled into the lungs, the virus can transmit,” added Chua. “Face masks help protect other people in case you are infected.”
“The Covid-19 situation is changing rapidly and it could be months, probably longer, before we have an effective vaccine or treatment. The best tools against the spread are those we already know. Whether you are a citizen, business-owner, or community leader, I urge you to set a good example by following prevention guidelines,” urged Chua. “We could be facing a public health crisis and these measures are vital to preserve our healthcare resources and reduce preventable deaths.”
In the event of a community outbreak, the CDC offers the following suggestions to prepare and protect yourself:
Stay informed about local Covid-19 situation.
Continue practicing hand hygiene, social distancing, face coverings and frequent cleaning of your home or workplace.
Let your employer know as soon as possible if your work schedule must change due to confirmed or suspected Covid in your household.
Stay in touch with family and friends especially if you, or they, have a chronic medical condition and/or live alone.
Community Covid Testing is Saturday, May 30
There will be a community Covid-19 testing this Saturday, May 30 at locations in Mill Creek and Elkins. The tests are free to the public and will not be subject to pre-screening guidelines.
According to Elkins-Randolph County Health Department Director of Threat Preparedness Bonnie Woodrum, the testing will help state officials determine the amount of community coronavirus spread in the county.
Testing at both locations will be available from 10 am until 4 pm, or while supplies last.
In Elkins, the public may visit the Davis Medical Center (DMC) Covid Testing Drive-Thru Site located on the campus of DMC. Valley HealthCare will provide testing at their site in Mill Creek, 6 Town Center Plaza, Suite A.
At the sites, medical staff will administer the test while motorists remain in their cars. The screening involves a quick nasal swab, which will be sent to a state-designated laboratory for processing. Testing will be by request, which means no criteria will have to be met, and no age restrictions apply.
Woodrum is coordinating the testing event with assistance from local groups including Davis Medical Center, The Office of Emergency Management, Randolph County Sherriff’s Department, Valley HealthCare, and the Randolph County Emergency Squad. The West Virginia Army National Guard is providing 500 test kits for each site, required forms, PPE and coolers, and will pick up and deliver specimens. The Randolph County Sheriff’s Department will provide for support by law enforcement.
“Because our county has had a rapid increase in positive cases, including ones resulting from community spread, we need a better understanding of the magnitude. This testing event will provide a good sampling from which to draw valuable data,” said Woodrum.
Residents should continue to practice coronavirus safety measures including hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing face coverings while in public. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Education (CDC), these practices can help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Questions about the May 30, 2020 community testing should be directed to the Elkins-Randolph County Health Department at 304.636.0396.
The CDC finally released long-delayed reopening guidance for schools, workplaces, camps, childcare centers, mass transit, and bars and restaurants.
The six one-page "decision tool" documents use traffic signs and other graphics to tell organizations what they should consider before reopening.
The CDC planned a document for churches, but that wasn't posted, AP reports. The White House raised concerns about recommended restrictions.
See the checklists:
State approves order allowing hospitals to resume more urgent procedures
Elkins, WV – On Thursday, April 23 the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Inspector General, approved Davis Health System to resume more urgent medical procedures.
The order comes nearly a month after Davis Health System hospitals suspended non-emergent, non-urgent, and in-person medical and surgical care due to growing concerns for the safety of patients and healthcare workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are taking a phased and deliberate approach to safely allow medical services to resume,” said DHS President and CEO Vance Jackson, FACHE. “Elective, or scheduled, procedures are important to the patient’s health and we’re working responsibly to get these patients the care they need first.”
To begin phase one of reopening services, Davis Health System completed an application which was submitted to the Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification. The application outlined DHS’ roadmap to gradually reopen necessary medical care. Pursuant to standards set forth by Executive Order 28-20, important measures regarding patient, workforce and environmental safety are implemented:
Patient Care & Safety
All patients entering the facility will be given a mask. Patients refusing to wear a mask will not be allowed to enter.
Patients requiring screening before entering our facilities include those who: (1) are symptomatic with fever and cough; (2) are scheduled for surgical or invasive medical procedures; and (3) have had known positive contact with COVID-19 persons.
Healthcare Worker Safety
All staff are screened at the beginning of their work shift.
Sufficient resources of Personal Protective Equipment are available to all staff and are worn according to protocols of patient care.
Providers and clinical staff will wear surgical facemasks at all times. N95 masks are worn for high-risk procedures.
Facility & Environmental Safety
Waiting areas, queue areas, and other public areas are arranged for social distancing.
Current No Visitation restrictions will remain in place.
All Davis Medical Outpatient Clinics are designated Non-COVID Care areas. Screening for symptoms of COVID are not performed in these areas.
COVID testing is performed at off-site drive-thru locations on the DMC campus and at DirectCare of Elkins.
Daily intensive sanitizing and housekeeping measures in high-touch and patient areas. UV lights in air handling units and terminal cleaning processes provide additional disinfection and decontamination of facilities.
To ensure safe, high quality care of each surgical patient, DMC is following the Five Phases of Care continuum.
All patients scheduled for surgical or invasive medical procedures will be screened for COVID.
Chief Medical Officer for DHS Catherine Chua, D.O. said their decision to move forward with some elective procedures was influenced by the fact that DHS hospitals have sufficient supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to meet near-term needs, and county data has shown little-to-no growth in local COVID cases.
“We will regularly review coronavirus activity data from the WV DHHR and local public health authority,” said Chua. “Our ability to perform in-house rapid PCR covid testing allows us to screen all patients scheduled for invasive or surgical procedures which helps us preserve a safe environment for our patients.”
“We’re advising patients to talk to their providers about scheduling procedures that they may have postponed. We are confident that we can provide care without compromising patient or staff safety, but the choice to resume treatment remains between the patient and their doctor. ”
Davis Health System to expand COVID-19 testing
In-house laboratory can test up to 64 persons each day
Elkins, WV – Davis Health System is expanding its capability to provide COVID-19 testing for up 64 people each day, a striking increase over the state-allotted number of tests they have had available since their onsite screenings began on March 21.
Nationwide shortages of necessary testing supplies has constrained U.S. hospital’s ability to screen proactively. Davis Health, like others, tested only persons who were symptomatic and/or met other criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But an aggressive effort made by the health system will soon allow the three-hospital system to expand community, patient and employee screening services.
“Thanks to outstanding collaboration among our diagnostic, medical and administrative teams, we have been able to secure the necessary supplies to develop our own SAR-CoV-2 assay, or PCR test for COVID,” said DHS Chief Medical Officer Catherine Chua, D.O.
Chua said polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the “gold standard” for COVID testing, and that the health system can now expand testing for patients and healthcare workers who have had primary exposure to COVID or who are symptomatic of cough and fever. They can also pre-operatively screen patients before medical procedures, and patients prior to nursing home admission. She added that the ability to aggressively test enhances the ability to contain and quarantine the virus by earlier identification of asymptomatic carriers.
Procuring in-house laboratory testing required an investment of more than $60,000. The process involved the purchase of testing supplies and submission of an Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We consider this an essential service to residents of our communities,” said DHS President and CEO Vance Jackson, FACHE. “Widespread testing is critical to reopening Davis Health hospitals, which we anticipate happening soon. It is one of our most important tools in the fight to slow and reduce the spread of the virus.”
PCR testing at Davis Medical Center will begin the last week of April. The test can run multiple samples at once, with capacity for up to 64 tests daily. Test results are analyzed in two to four hours depending on testing volume.
“The rapid result time is important,” said Chua. “We can more efficiently identify infected individuals, guide their medical treatment, isolate when appropriate and, contact and quarantine people they may have exposed to the virus.”
She said an “uptick” in positive results may occur with greater community screening. “At first, we will likely see a small spike in the number of positive cases because the more tests we do, the more positives we’re likely to have. However, because we can identify and isolate more efficiently, we should be able to flatten the curve and be successful in lessening the transmission.”
The expanded testing will be available in the following ways:
The public may contact the Davis Health System COVID Nurse Hotline at 304.630.3088 for instructions and testing collections sites.
The DMC Campus Drive-Thru Screening is available Monday through Friday from 10 am until 4 pm.
DirectCare of Elkins will offer drive-thru COVID testing from 9-10 am and 4 to 8 pm, Monday through Friday; and, during regular walk-in hours on the weekends (Saturday 9 am to 1 pm, and Sunday 12 pm until 4 pm. Patients will call the DirectCare number, 304.636.4585, from their car and receive instructions from the staff on how to proceed through the testing area.
COVID testing is available at the DMC Emergency Department but will result in a patient charge for an ED visit. Patients who are not experiencing life-threatening symptoms are advised to use one of the alternative, less costly testing sites.
To date, Davis Medical Center has performed 204 tests with three patients testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19 testing at Davis Health System, call the Nurse Hotline at 304.630.3088.
Davis Medical Center COVID-19 Drive-Thru Test site to reduce hours
Elkins, WV – The Davis Medical Center (DMC) COVID-19 drive-thru pre-screening site will be reducing hours beginning Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The site will be open Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The reduced hours are due to a decrease in the number of people tested at the location.
“We have seen a steady decrease in demand, however we will adjust the hours as needed or if demand surges,” said DHS Chief Medical Officer Catherine Chua, D.O. “We are directing weekend and after-hours screening to DirectCare of Elkins and the DMC Nurse Hotline at 304.630.3088.”
Davis Health System facilities follow the recommended CDC COVID-19 testing criteria.
Information is also available at the WV COVID-19 hotline number by calling 1.800.887.4304, or by visiting the CDC website www.cdc.gov.
Managing chronic disease is critical during a pandemic
ELKINS, WV—“A major concern right now is keeping our chronic disease patients in touch with their providers. Everyday health problems don’t go away during a pandemic,” said Davis Health System Chief Medical Officer Catherine Chua, D.O.,
When the WV DHHR ordered hospitals to suspend all non-urgent, non-emergent in-person medical encounters, access to outpatient services was dramatically disrupted. The order’s intent is to provide for the safety of healthcare workers and conserve medical personnel and supplies in anticipation for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. According to Dr. Chua, people who have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease and heart disease, face increased challenges when critical outpatient services are delayed.
“People are withdrawing from healthcare right now because of fears of COVID-19,” said Chua. “We’ve got to help our most vulnerable populations, the elderly and those with chronic disease, understand the options that are available now to keep them connected with their providers.”
Telemedicine, or virtual visits, are convenient for patients with access to a smart phone, tablet or computer. Patients schedule a real-time, interactive medical appointment with their provider and can discuss changes in health status, medications, and any concerns they would normally bring up during a face-to-face visit.
“We can do a lot with telemedicine,” said Johanna Biola, MD, family practitioner at Davis Medical Center. “My diabetic patients test their blood sugar at home. A virtual visit allows them to easily report their reading to me so I can respond quickly for unusual changes and patterns of blood sugars.”
“Right now, so many things are disrupted,” said Chua. “It’s more challenging to maintain healthy lifestyles when you are limited in your grocery shopping, exercise, and even social interactions. Chronic disease management is negatively affected, placing more of our patients at risk.”
“CDC data illustrates how COVID-19 affects people who are already dealing with health challenges. Those in the high risk groups need to be extremely careful. Managing your chronic disease could make a difference in terms of improving your outcomes should you contract a virus like COVID-19.”
What can patients do?
Dr. Chua emphasizes the need for regular communication between the patient and their provider.
“Many people do not realize that they can still see their provider in our physician office clinics. Chronic disease management is essential healthcare as well as any laboratory and radiology tests your provider may order.”
“People are afraid to come into the clinic and we get that. Honestly, it’s a much safer and cleaner environment than where they go for groceries, gas and other essential items. Our housekeeping staff is working around the clock performing deep cleaning, disinfecting and scrubbing the surfaces and areas which could potentially host germs and viruses.”
Further steps to control and maintain a safe environment at DHS facilities includes mandating patients and patient-facing staff to wear masks, limiting points of entry, rapid safe triage of patients, and strict adherence to Infection Control Standards and Precautions.
“Patients with underlying health problems shouldn’t be put in a position of making judgments about the urgency of their healthcare, or for understanding what constitutes elective medicine. If you are worried, call us. We’re here for every patient.”
Step-by-step instructions for downloading and using the MendTelemedicine App can be found on the DHS website To schedule a Telemedicine appointment, call the Davis Medical Center Patient Access Center at 304.637.3894.
Medical visits available through Telemedicine include family practice, pediatrics, urology, behavioral health, chronic care management, podiatry, orthopedic, speech pathology, nutrition & diabetes counseling, general surgical, pain management, and obstetrics (limited).
March 25, 2020
Contact: Tracy Fath, 304.637.3467
Davis Medical Tightens Safety Measures amid COVID-19 Concerns
Elkins, WV – Keeping pace with other hospitals nationwide, Davis Health System (DHS) is again tightening hospital safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect its workers and patients.
“Our priority is slowing the spread of this virus and doing everything possible to keep our patients, care team members and communities safe,” said Vance Jackson, DHS President and CEO.
DHS Chief Medical Officer Catherine Chua, D.O. explained how stricter safety measures keep Davis Medical Center safe for patients requiring more routine care like obstetrical visits, chronic care checks, diagnostic testing and other.
“Despite the threat of COVID-19, we have patients who need continual care by their provider. We’ve ramped up safety measures to ensure these patients and our staff are not exposed to infected patients,” said Chua. “At this time we have the necessary staffing, supplies and equipment to care for patients, and we’re taking extra precautions to manage hospital safety.”
Among the intensive measures are:
Inpatient visitation is restricted until further notice. Some newborn and end-of-life care exceptions are considered.
All staff and patients entering DMC will be screened for fever.
All staff and patients will enter through the Main Entrance on Gorman Avenue from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Emergency Department entry for staff is available only when the Main Entrance is closed.
All “patient-facing” staff will wear the appropriate level of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Around the clock intensive cleaning of patient and staff areas.
Self-serve areas of the employee cafeteria are dismantled and seating areas are set up for social distancing.
Health Center Pharmacy heavily encourages use of its free delivery and curbside service to reduce patient need for entering the facility.
The health system’s Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) team convenes daily to review short and long-term needs for the health care system. Among daily review is the inventory of supplies, screening procedures, emergency preparedness and communications planning, quarantine plans, staffing levels, PPE inventory, and safety processes.
“We are doing everything we can to be prepared if a local spread takes off here,” said Jackson.
The availability of COVID-19 testing, essential supplies and protective gear for healthcare workers are issues of high concern.
“These are elements hospitals across the globe are contending with so these challenges aren’t unique to us,” explained Chua. “We’re fortunate that we have not seen the pandemic spread of COVID in our communities, but if you look at the rate of WV confirmed cases it continues to grow daily. It’s still a very real threat.”
“We understand it is frustrating for people who want to be COVID tested. Until more tests are available in the US and in West Virginia, we must follow the testing guidelines issued by the CDC so that the most vulnerable patients are identified and taken care of,” Chua said. “The elderly, those with preexisting heart and respiratory conditions and healthcare workers are most at risk.”
Accessing care. “It comes down to getting the right care, at the right time, at the right place,” said Chua.
Patients who have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should use the drive-thru screening site on the Davis Medical Center Campus. It is open daily for screening from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. CDC guidelines determine patients who will be referred for additional care or testing.
Patients who have general acute needs such as colds, allergies, rash, ear infection, pink eye, sinus infection, or sprains and strains should visit the walk-in services of DirectCare of Elkins or Buckhannon Medical Care. For the safety of other patients and healthcare workers, those with a fever should call the Nurse Hotline at 304.630.3088 before visiting DirectCare or their primary care physician (PCP). DirectCare of Elkins offers evening and weekend hours.
Davis Medical Center is available for scheduled primary and specialty care, lab & radiology testing, and day surgery procedures. Patients who feel ill, have a cough or fever must call the Nurse Hotline at 304.630.3088 before coming to Davis Medical Center. Even if persons are not symptomatic for influenza or coronavirus, they will be asked to wear a mask while at DMC for care or services.
Davis Health System developed a website with up-to-date information about accessing care locally. Visit davishealth-covid19.com frequently. The WV COVID-19 hotline number is 1.800-887-4304.
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has now spread to a number of countries including the United States.
Shortness of Breath
When should you visit a doctor, drive-thru screening or emergency room?
If you are experiencing symptoms such as:
Shortness of Breath
If you’ve recently traveled somewhere with widespread outbreak, or had close contact with an infected individual and are experiencing symptoms, call Davis Medical Center for instructions. (304.630.3088)
What can I do to protect myself and others?
The best advice is to practice good hygiene.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds - hand sanitizer (with 60-90% alcohol content is a second option.
Don't touch your face - mouth, nose & eyes - especially with unwashed hands.
Avoid contact with sick people.
If you are sick, stay home.
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze - do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Wash your hands afterward.
Clean objects in your home, car and workplace.