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Augusta Health says continuing social distancing is crucial for public health

Since the team began work at the beginning of April, Arrowood said they've assisted more than 165 people. | Credit: WHSV
Since the team began work at the beginning of April, Arrowood said they've assisted more than 165 people. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 6:41 PM EDT
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As Virginians have continued social distancing, Augusta Health said they've seen how social distancing is working, and they say it's crucial that it continues if we want to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Stefanie Bartley, a nurse and infection preventionist at Augusta Health, said they've been looking at models to see the predicted surge of cases, and correlate that to the number of beds and ventilators available.

"When we first started using that model, the surge or the peak was a lot closer to us, and there were always bed shortages," Bartley said.

As the social distancing has continued, Bartley said the models changed.

"Now we're seeing that it's spread out further, so that peak is coming a lot later, and also there aren't shortages," Bartley said.

In addition to the modeling, Bartley said she's encouraged by the testing results they've seen.

"We're able to do more and more testing," Bartley said. "But we're seeing our positives kind of hold steady. So you would think, you know, if social distancing wasn't working, we would continue to see that acceleration of positives."

Even though Bartley said she's encouraged by the modeling, it's still not the time to let up on social distancing.

"They're doing the right thing, and it's working," Bartley said. "So staying home, making those quick visits to the grocery store, the pharmacy, wearing your mask when out in public, and hand hygiene."

She said it's especially important in the Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro area, where there are fewer cases than other places in the Shenandoah Valley.

, Augusta County had 18 cases, Staunton had 2, and Waynesboro had 6, in sharp contrast to 101 cases in Harrisonburg and 67 in Rockingham County.

"Not take that as a false sense of security, that we still need to have the social distancing, we still need to shelter in place, and not have community gatherings,' Bartley said.

She acknowledged that she thinks it can be hard sometimes to continue social distancing if people aren't seeing results. Bartley said that's why education is important.

"If we can keep to the social distancing and to all the other factors that are put in place that kind of go along with that, it keeps our community safe," Bartley said.

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