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Public Health Advisory - Jan. 10, 2022

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To support the needs related to the current surge of COVID-19, Meritus Health continues to adapt its response and quickly implement ways to offer preventative measures, testing and treatment for the community.

“Testing remains paramount to control the spread of COVID-19 and our dedicated teams will reach a significant milestone this week with completion of 250,000 COVID-19 tests,” said Maulik Joshi, president and CEO of Meritus Health.

During the past three weeks, the drive-thru screening center on Crayton Boulevard has seen a sharp increase in demand for testing – team members swabbed 1,000 people in a day several days. The center remained open as the region experienced winter weather. Tests collected by Meritus Health this past week resulted in a 38% positivity rate.

Joshi said that number should be of concern to every person in this community.

The drive-thru teams met with Washington County officials to now encourage those seeking a COVID-19 test at the Meritus Health location to use the I-81 exit at Showalter Road and then turn onto Crayton Boulevard to access the center.

“During times of high volume, we have received permission to use the parking lot of the nearby Hampton Inn, so cars in line can safely wait without restricting traffic,” said Joshi.

New signs to clearly mark the route will be placed on-site this week and a map will be added to MeritusHealth.com in the COVID-19 resources section.

At the hospital, staff treated between 80-90 COVID-19 patients each day, all last week.

“Staffing continues to be a challenge we are working through and we hope that our many efforts will help ease the burden on the tired and loyal health care heroes who shoulder caring for many very ill patients,” said Joshi. “At this busy time, when we also have openings and team members who are out sick themselves, I hope each of you takes a moment to find a meaningful way to express your gratitude to these teams.”

Meritus Health continues to support the COVID-19 vaccination effort at the vaccine clinic in Robinwood Professional Center’s atrium. The clinic is open from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. for walk-in appointments, Monday-Friday. Upon receiving authorization last week, booster shots were expanded for eligible patients ages 12 and older.

Joshi said we cannot understate the importance of the COVID-19 booster and that we all need a boost!

According to data collected at Meritus Health, for both people testing positive and people who need hospital care, booster shots are providing the protection needed to prevent spread and serious illness.

“Nearly 95% of both the people who are testing positive at the Meritus COVID-19 drive-thru screening center and the patients being treated for the virus at Meritus Medical Center are either unvaccinated or have not had a vaccine in more than six months,” said Joshi. “Over time, protection that you receive from your initial vaccine doses decreases, but the booster shot helps to ‘boost’ your immunity to COVID-19, especially as different variants develop.”

He said that Meritus Health has made the process to receive a booster shot very simple and easy.

“We continue to find ourselves in what feels like the middle of a very dark tunnel, but there are several glimmers of light shining this week and that’s where I am choosing to place my focus,” said Joshi. “We have additional prevention options for our neighbors in the form of injections; a greater opportunity for more age groups to receive a booster shot; and resources from the National Guard to help our tired teams continue to support this crisis.”

Joshi encouraged everyone to please stay informed and let the facts guide their choices and decisions.

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