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Lawrence General Hospital pauses elective surgeries to devote resources to COVID-19 care

With coronavirus cases on the rise across the Merrimack Valley, Lawrence General Hospital has temporarily halted elective surgeries to use all resources to care for patients ill with COVID-19 and other urgent health issues.

Effective Tuesday, the elective surgeries were paused so full focus can be given to the hospital's emergency, trauma and diagnostic services, Lawrence General spokesman Ben French said. No date was given for the resumption of elective surgeries, though hospital President and CEO Deborah Wilson said Lawrence General is monitoring local and state public health data and will reopen surgical suites as soon as possible.

“During the past several weeks, Lawrence General Hospital has seen a steady increase in the number of patients with positive COVID-19 diagnoses requiring hospitalizations," Wilson said in a prepared statement. "We have been carefully monitoring the surge on a daily basis to assure that we have the staff and bed capacity necessary to provide care for both these patients and other members of our community requiring emergency care."

Wilson said the hospital has one of the state's busiest emergency rooms and serves as the region's trauma center.

While elective surgeries are on hold, patients are encouraged to keep up with routine, non-hospital care appointments and seek emergency care when it is needed.

Hospital or doctor's office staff are contacting patients impacted by the halt to elective surgeries, French said.

"For non-urgent surgery, the physician’s office will work with patients to reschedule. Anyone who needs urgent or semi-urgent surgery is still getting that surgery," French said. "Working in close collaboration with each surgeon, urgent and emergent surgery and procedures will be determined on a case-by-case basis by our surgical review team. If a case is determined to be semi-urgent or urgent, the surgery will remain scheduled."

Public health data released Monday by Mayor Daniel Rivera's office indicates 8,925 Lawrence residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Lawrence General continues to operate an eight-lane drive-thru site on Canal Street that tests about 1,500 patients per day. A mobile testing unit also recently hit the streets in a partnership between the hospital and the city to bring testing to inner-city neighborhoods.


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