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UVa medical school announces furloughs; Bluegrass Grill & Bakery to close permanently

In an email sent to University of Virginia employees, Dr. David Wilkes, dean of the School of Medicine, detailed some actions that will be taken to offset losses to the university and its health system.

The university and health system are financially separate, but the medical school and hospital do trade some revenues and expenses. Earlier this week, the health system announced plans for pay cuts and furloughs to stem losses that resulted from the cancellation and postponement of non-emergency procedures.

Compensation for medical faculty and staff will be reduced 20% through July, though staff making less than $50,000 annually will not be affected, according to the email. Changes will take place in early May, though no specific date was mentioned, and affected staff will receive a letter.

The situation will continue to be monitored, according to Wilkes, and may be extended past the initial three months.

Targeted furloughs also will be utilized, according to the email. Staff will be furloughed for three months, but health, dental and life benefits will not be affected. Affected staff members and faculty will be contacted in early May.

UVa’s decisions come as cases in the Thomas Jefferson Health District continue to grow.

According to numbers released Friday by the health district, there are now 298 confirmed cases, 60 hospitalizations and 13 deaths. Statewide, there are 16,901 cases, 2,416 hospitalizations and 581 deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

To assist medical professionals, the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Regional Emergency Operations Center is extending the days it will collect needed medical supplies at St. Anne’s-Belfield School.

Contactless donation drop offs can be done between noon and 3 p.m. seven days a week, according to a news release.

The operations center also announced a second donations dropoff location at the Brooks Family YMCA in McIntire Park, at 151 McIntire Park Drive. This location will be accepting donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Per the release, all donations will be cleaned and disinfected before distribution. Donated materials will be distributed to senior living facilities, first responders, child care centers and at-risk communities.

For more information about donating and accepted items, residents can call the EOC Donation Hotline at (434) 297-8415.

The Bluegrass Grill & Bakery has permanently closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a post by owner Chrissy Benninger on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

In the post, Benninger wrote that during the last few weeks, she had been trying to figure out how to reopen the restaurant, before realizing that she could not.

“I am officially and permanently closing The Bluegrass Grill & Bakery, in the incarnation that it is right now,” she wrote. “This was a very difficult and heartbreaking decision. I was in denial for weeks until a small group of people sat me down and talked to me about the reality of the situation. I knew all this. I wanted to give it one more shot. But… what they said had merit. They were right. Our viability was impossible.”


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