Ballad Health officials say announcement for COVID-19 research to be released this week


Ballad Health said a big announcement is coming later this week about COVID-19 research.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Ballad Health said a big announcement is coming later this week about COVID-19 research.

Ballad Health President and CEO Alan Levine announced that physician leadership will reveal the research on Thursday.

Levine called it “cutting edge” and said it will hopefully get the region involved in a national dialogue about the illness.

Ballad Health also gave an update on COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

The health care system has diagnosed 141 COVID-19 cases in the region, but not all have had to be admitted into the hospital.

Three weeks is the magic number for someone who tests positive for COVID-19 to be considered “recovered.” Ballad Health said that is three weeks from the date of collection.

“There has been some use within the system with hydroxychloroquine in isolated cases to treat patients with severe illness,” Ballad Health chief physicial executive Dr. Clay Runnels said.

As of Tuesday morning, Ballad Health has 11 patients hospitalized for coronavirus.

The health care system is predicting a regional peak in the next 45 to 60 days. Health officials said everyone needs to continue social distancing.

“It’s important to remember that social distancing and staying at home, when it’s not necessary for you to be out is the best way to prevent infection,” Runnels said.

Health officials are seeing an increase in people wanting to get tested but emphasize that right now, testing is only for those meeting certain criteria.

“We have continued to have around 300 beds that are dedicated for our COVID patients,” corporate director of infection prevention Jamie Swift said. “We continue to work with our supply chain to continue to get PPE, personal protective equipment, to make sure that we provide the care that we need.”

They added, if there is a surge, they have the resources for it.

“We have a unique demographic. We’re taking what we understand about our region and based on what we’re seeing today, we believe that we’ve got the capacity to serve whatever the surge would look like,” Ballad Health CEO Alan Levine said.

Ballad Health announced it will consolidate its interventional cardiology program at Greeneville Community Hospital with Johnson City and Holston Valley Medical Centers’ program.

Ballad added that it will invest in upgrading cardiac imaging diagnostics and vascular surgery capabilities at Greeneville Community Hospital.

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