Patients that need services involving the cardiovascular staff will be transferred to other nearby medical facilities.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Ballad Health reports a majority of employees in the cardiovascular surgery department at Johnson City Medical Center tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

Employees who have tested positive must remain out of the building until cleared to return, according to officials.

Any patient needing cardiac bypass surgery, or other procedures which require immediate backup by the Cardiovascular Operating Room Staff will be transferred after consultation with their surgeon and medical team to either Holston Valley Medical Center or Bristol Regional Medical Center based upon patient preference.

“This action is being taken solely for the protection of patients and staff, and we anticipate the resumption of the service as soon as the team members are able to return,” Ballad said in an email.

Below is the memo sent to Johnson City Medical Center team members on Monday:

Due to pandemic-related impacts, the JCMC cardiovascular and thoracic surgery (CVT) program will have limited surgical capabilities for the next 5-10 days effective immediately. Emergent procedures such as dissections, aneurysms and open-heart surgeries will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by CVT team to determine transfer to a sister facility with coverage (BRMC or HVMC) is necessary. Patients at JCMC currently under the care of the CVT team will continue to be managed by that team and should a patient develop a need for surgical intervention, the CVT team as noted above will work with HVMC or BRMC to facilitate a safe transfer. Those teams are aware of this pandemic-related constraint and supportive of our efforts to care for all patients who require services during this time.

We will be limiting and rescheduling CVT procedures and those that require CVT backup, however, our JCMC CVT surgeons as of today remain on call and will assist in helping triage patients as needed. They will also continue to support our trauma team and we will continue to provide level 1 trauma services at JCMC. As for emergent STEMIs, JCMC will continue to provide the same interventional cardiology services we provide today for those patients.

Should the circumstances change, we will notify you immediately, but we expect this to last at least 5-10 days. Thanks for your understanding, support and care you provide for our patients.

This story was originally reported by WCYB.

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