Charlottesville hospitals prepare for 1st anniversary of deadly rally

Hospitals in Charlottesville, Va., are taking precautions to ensure they can provide care to patients ahead of the one-year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right white nationalist rally that left one dead and several others injured, ABC 8 News reports.

A group of white nationalists and their supporters gathered in Charlottesville during Aug. 11-12 of last year to protest the removal of a Confederate-era statue. The group was met by counter-protestors and the scene turned violent, leading state officials to declare a state of emergency. During the incident, a vehicle drove into a crowd of protestors, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least a dozen others.

This year, officials at the University of Virginia Health System and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital said they plan to employ extra staff and are taking additional precautions in case of another mass casualty event.

The precautions are similar to those the hospitals would take for other mass events, and will not limit patients' access to the facilities. However, both institutions plan to close off certain entrances to their facilities, and officials said they will lock down the hospitals if necessary.

"The preparedness effort for the second part of our mission is really no different than what we do for mass gathering events throughout the year, whether it be concerts, community events, or other mass gathering events," Thomas Berry, director of emergency management at the University of Virginia Health System, told ABC 8 News.

To access the full report, click here.

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