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Sentara Healthcare postpones elective surgeries, procedures and diagnostic testing

People who had their surgeries postponed said they understand why, but they hope it doesn't take several months.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Sentara Healthcare is postponing all hospital-based non-emergent surgeries, procedures and diagnostic testing amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Norfolk-based healthcare system said its hospitals are currently treating more COVID-19 patients than ever before. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Sentara's facilities more than doubled within the week, and more than quadrupled within the last month.

“I couldn’t wait. I was ready to jump up on that surgery table, " Maria Sullivan said. “Then I found out I think last Wednesday or Thursday that they have postponed it.”

Sullivan said she needs a partial knee replacement after years of playing sports and working out.

“Cortisone shots don’t work anymore and it hurts. It hurts,” she said.

Sullivan’s surgery was initially scheduled for this week at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

Officials said the current pause allows them to reassign workers to other areas with a more urgent need.

“It’s not the end of the world, I’ll get there. The healing will pass by and I’ll be walking normal again, that’s my hope,” Sullivan said.

She said she knows some people who had their procedures and surgeries postponed who are in more pain than her. Sullivan is just hoping everyone will get relief sooner rather than later.

 “I have a 30-day pre-op. If I go past that, then I have to go through all of the medical appointments that I had to go through for this surgery and that’s not going to be for free,” she said.

All impacted procedures, surgeries and diagnostic testing will be rescheduled to a later date after the surge passes. All lifesaving and emergency surgeries and procedures will continue.

Those who need medical care can utilize a virtual care appointment, an in-office visit with Sentara Medical Group, or visit their nearest emergency department if urgent.

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