Friday, June 2, 2023

Riverside doctor says the overall population in the system’s service area has reached coronavirus peak

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

The number of coronavirus cases is less than originally predicted and overall the population has reached its peak.

That was the assertion made by Dr. Mike Dacey, president and COO of Riverside Health System, during a Facebook Live event at the Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News Thursday.

When he mentioned “overall,” he was talking about Riverside locations on the Richmond outskirts, Peninsula, Eastern Shore and the Southside.

“Yes, we think so but there are caveats on that,” he said, adding there has been an increase in prison cases.

Dacey said he thinks the lower numbers are due to beneficial effects of social distancing and other measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus.

As of Thursday morning, Riverside had 14 COVID-19 positive patients throughout the whole hospital system, in all five hospitals, with another 45 patients awaiting testing with a high chance of being positive for the virus, he added.

Other staff such as Bill Downey, CEO for Riverside, Dr. Gary Kavit, chief emergency services and medical director and Dr. Theresa Emory, pathologist and a board member of the Riverside Foundation, gave updates about the coronavirus.


  • Nasal swab/viral test: Identifies if virus is present.
  • Antibody test: for patients who have recovered from the virus. Is not widely available yet.
  • Tests- turnaround time 36 hours.
  • Testing capacity: Unknown. Riverside is working with Virginia Department of Health and a private lab.
  • Experimental drugs: Remdesivir with successful results. Working with Mayo Clinic to use Convalescent serum.
  • Personal protective equipment- has N95 masks, reusing PPE with sanitation procedures.

RELATED STORY: Say hello to ‘Annie’: Riverside uses UV robot to disinfect N95 masks during the coronavirus

Hospital services

“The overall volume for the Riverside health system has seen some pretty significant declines,” Downey said, noting they had stopped performing elective surgeries in March.

Home health care, hospice and nursing homes are busy and while there has been an increase in oncology and maternity services, other departments had dropped.

  • Surgical: 60 percent
  • Admissions: 20 percent
  • Office visits: 50 percent
  • EMS departments: 45 percent
  • 911 calls: as high as 30 percent
  • Telehealth: Increase to 200-250 patient visits per day. Previously, 20 patients.

Coronavirus cases

While children are at a low risk for catching the coronavirus, Kavit said children and young people who got the virus are ending up on ventilators.

“Low risk is not no risk,” he said. “Just because the mortality is less doesn’t mean that you can’t get quite ill.”

  • More patients are sicker.
  • EMS: COVID patients separate from other departments.
  • Cancer patients: limited information about risk.
  • COVID patients: Quarantine within household.
  • Riverside MyChart: Symptom checker.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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