Cone Health preparing to activate more negative pressure rooms for COVID-19 patients


GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Cone Health is preparing to activate more negative pressure rooms as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase.

As of midnight Tuesday, 102 people were hospitalized across the system with the virus. Analysts for Cone Health predicted 100 hospitalizations by the end of August.

A spokesperson for Cone Health said the system currently has approximately 130 operational negative pressure rooms used for isolation.

Executive Director of Emergency Services Ann Councilman told FOX8 the system is looking to boost that number past 250 if needed.

“Some of that is built-in with our current air handling infrastructure. Some of that is with mobile units being added to rooms. It’s a little bit of a combination of both just depending on what the different campuses may need.”

The rooms are a crucial piece of the fight against COVID-19, helping reduce the spread of the virus in hospitals.

“It is imminent work that is occurring for us to prepare for what we anticipate to be common in the next two to three weeks,” she said.

Novant Health’s Dr. David Priest said Tuesday the system is facing 97 percent capacity in hospital ICUs.

Cone Health’s ICU capacity sits at 70 percent.

“What we’re seeing current state is about 20 percent of the COVID population requires ICU level of care. So current state we’re at a capacity to manage that along with our other ICU patients,” Councilman said.

The health system is bringing in more travel nurses and shifting staff as needed.

“Many of our staff are picking up and working extra to support the excess volumes that are going on. As surgery cases may drop or some of our other procedural areas. That’s kind of how we normally work. We shift the work to where the patients are,” Councilman said. “Everybody’s just working really hard to come together to make this happen for our community. Just like we did in wave one.”

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