Hospitals, shelters have a busy weekend

Local hospitals and relief organizations were ready for what the winter storm had to bring over the weekend.

Grady “Skip” Philips, chief operating officer at Winchester Medical Center, said that Sunday was a “fairly busy” day for local hospitals as people came in with chronic diseases and exertion issues after overextending themselves when shoveling snow.

Besides shoveling concerns, it was a “remarkably safe weekend,” he said.

Staff members were available throughout the weekend and were at times driven to the hospitals by local law enforcement to get to work as safely as possible, he added.  They stayed overnight at the hospitals or in nearby hotels when they couldn’t safely return home.

Local organizations helped those in need throughout the storm.

Marion Schoctelkorb, executive director of Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter (WATTS), said that a shelter was set up at the Berryville Ruritan Hall and was at full capacity on Friday night.

Volunteers and WATTS managers made sure those at the shelter were well provided for with plenty of food and warmth. She added that no WATTS managers were able to get to Berryville due to road conditions, so one manager worked 24 hours to ensure that the shelter was fully staffed.

“WATTS is extremely grateful for all of our volunteers,” she said, “And clearly 35 people were a lot better off at the shelter.”

Throughout the state, the Red Cross was on full alert.

Christy Carneal, interim regional disaster public affairs and media spokesperson for the Virginia Red Cross, said they had volunteers on stand-by throughout the weekend and staff members slept in offices while they waited for calls to come in.

“We had a fairly busy response,” she said. Her office’s coverage area runs from Stafford south to the North Carolina line.

“We all stay quite active,” she added.

The Red Cross responded to 10 fire calls, as well as supported seven overnight shelters and several warming shelters. They also provided 250 meals and 1,000 snacks to those in need over the weekend.

Another outcome of the winter weather was the cancellation of blood drives.

According to a Red Cross news release, “Severe winter weather since Jan. 1 has forced the cancellation of more than 300 blood drives across 20 states, resulting in more than 9,500 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply.”

Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or