CHESAPEAKE, VA. (WAVY) — Chesapeake Regional Medical Center is one of the busiest in Hampton Roads; In fiscal year 2019, Chesapeake had 67,400 emergency room visits.
So, it is no surprise that Chesapeake has seen a large number of concerned people fearing they have coronavirus.
Doctor Jonathan Romash is vice chief of emergency medicine at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, where 184 have been tested for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
There have been 31 positive tests, but fortunately no deaths.
“People are kind of worried. They are concerned. They have the virus, and we test them… People seem to cope with it really well,” Romash said.
He points to what he believes is Chesapeake’s relationship to COVID-19 and how it is in its infancy with the worst yet to come.
“Projections for us is we will see a big uptick. It will be later in the month. If that is accurate, then we are in the early phase of it,” he said.
Romash also sees a big problem with lab results taking too long to come back.
“It’s concerning. We need more testing kits… It is going to be hard, but it hasn’t changed the way you manage the disease process,” he said.
It was so slow for Sentara Healthcare, they gave up on drive-thru screenings for COVID-19.
“We have seen turnaround as fast as three or four days. I was told yesterday it could take as long as 11 days, and the fact that we are going to have more to test, the labs will be overwhelmed,” he said.
Chesapeake is barely in the first inning of COVID 19 — expecting the worst to be toward the end of the month.
“We will try to keep the staff employees safe, and what we are doing is — when we see people who have these complaints — is we wear our gloves and protect ourselves from the patients,” Romash said.
Interestingly, Romash isn’t complaining about personal protective equipment (PPE). He says they have what they need for now.
10 On Your Side also spoke to nurse Brooke Englund.
“We are all just keeping up. This is not a surprise as far as PPE. Everyone has heard about that, but we are taking measures to protect ourselves, and the hospital is taking measures to make sure we have what we need,” Englund said.
Outside the emergency room, coronavirus triage tents are set up just in case.
Romash has noticed a change in the patient totals over three weeks.
“The total number of patients coming in for evaluations are going down. The total number of registered complaints is going up,” Romash added.
The hospital staff feels appreciated by people like Jen Silver, the district vice president of YMCA South Hampton Roads. 10 On Your Side found her delivering goods to hard-working medical personnel on the front line at the hospital.
“We just wanted to give back. They have done so much with our programs, we wanted to give back to them and show how much we appreciate all the hard work they are doing,” Silver said.
Englund and the hospital responded, and are grateful.
“It makes us feel special. It makes us feel we are appreciated. We have had such an outpouring of love from our community, from local businesses. It makes a hard day a little bit better, so thank you.”
Which brings us to Jon Bon Jovi launching his new call to action song against COVID-19 “Do What You Can.” He sang Tuesday night on the NBC coronavirus special “If you can’t do what you do, do what you can.”
10 On Your Side asked Romash what that means to him.
“It means if you can’t be at your job or be at school, do what you can to help out,” Romash said.
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