VB health director says hospitals could exceed capacity if there’s ‘no change in behaviors’ during pandemic


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — While the calendar says “fall” in the resort city, Virginia Beach’s health director says when you are talking about COVID-19, the case numbers are similar to what we saw this summer.

The city’s seven-day rolling average of cases reported per day has now exceeded where it previously peaked in late July.

Just as additional restrictions on gatherings and businesses were implemented in an effort to bring the number of cases down then, Dr. Demetria Lindsay, director of the Virginia Beach and Norfolk health departments, said more actions could come.

“There is constant and regular discussion at all levels of the state in terms of these levels and if we need to take additional actions,” Lindsay said. “I can assure you that those actions will be taken if we determine we need to step in.”

Lindsay echoed current modeling showing that patients in the Virginia Department of Health Eastern Region — which includes Virginia Beach — could exceed the number of hospital beds available by late January if current behaviors don’t change.

Councilman John Moss asked if conversations have again arisen about preparing a field hospital to be prepared for a potential surge.

Plans to convert three convention centers across Virginia into field hospitals as part of the state’s coronavirus response were put on hold back in April. The plans included one at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

Mayor Donnie Tuck, of Hampton, told 10 On Your Side last week that he had heard nothing more about the proposal.

“The goal from the state would be not to allow us to reach that,” Lindsay said in response to Moss. “So what I showed you was a projection on what could happen as we are watching these numbers, if we don’t take steps to intervene. My expectation is that we would take steps to make sure we never get there … I’m appealing again to the public and encouraging them to understand that what they do and the decisions they make in terms of their activities, has a direct effect on how we do as a community.”

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