Associated Press Published

West Virginia's First 'Surge' Hospital Amid Virus Outbreak


A Charleston hospital has become West Virginia’s first COVID-19 surge hospital ahead of the state’s projected peak of coronavirus cases.

Saint Francis Hospital was ready to receive virus patients as of Friday, The Charleston Gazette Mail reported.

“Hopefully, we’ll never have to use it,” said Brian Lilly, chief quality officer for Thomas Health, the organization that operates Saint Francis and Thomas Memorial Hospital. “But if we do, we have the capability here now to handle whatever may come up.”

Saint Francis has devoted two floors to serve coronavirus patients, as well as add beds and equipment, if West Virginia’s case load is higher than anticipated, Lilly said.

The hospital will treat patients who were diagnosed at medical facilities across the state and who are in need of active short-term care or rehabilitation services. The patients will be referred to the Charleston surge hospital by state public health officials.

West Virginia had seen more than 570 confirmed cases and five deaths as of Saturday.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, and the overwhelming majority of people recover. But people with severe cases can need respirators to survive, and with infections spreading exponentially, many hospitals are bracing for coming waves of patients.