GREENSBORO, N.C. — Coronavirus hospitalizations are spiking in part of the Piedmont Triad.
Earlier this week, Cone Health was caring for more COVID-19 patients than at any time since the pandemic began in March.
For three days straight the health system reported 81 hospitalizations.
“We are not really that close to exceeding capacity and yet it was still startling, right? It’s not the welcome news. You are not happy to see that there’s been a 20% jump in the volumes of the patient care hospital,” said Dr. Laura Murray, a Cone Health area medical director.
Murray believes pandemic fatigue may be to blame for a surge in coronavirus cases.
“I think that everybody is just tired of COVID. We are tired of all the stuff. We are ready to get back to real life. I think what we are seeing is people who are desperate for companionship are spending a little too much time close together without masks on,” Murray said.
She says small gatherings are potentially the biggest source of exposure to infection.
“A lot of us are not feeling like we are particularly in danger, but there are people among us who are in danger and we just need to keep up the good work,” Murray said.
In the last four weeks the number of people showing up to Cone Health testing sites has doubled. The week of Sept. 12, they completed 2,724 community tests compared to 5,382 community tests completed last week.
Murray said they need to be resourceful with the test kits. She asks everyone to be smart about when to get tested. Her recommendation is to wait at least five days after exposure to allow the test to turn positive.
“The average person, at average risk, doing some average stuff out in the community, we feel like if you come in and get a negative test and you feel fine then that result is probably good for 14 days,” Murray said.
Despite increases in hospitalizations, Cone Health says it still has capacity to take in COVID-19 patients.
“It’s concerning, it’s not horrifying, but it’s something to pay attention to and just be aware that you know in general we have COVID kind of going up around here and we just need to really be a little more careful and vigilant,” Murray said.
Cone turned its Green Valley campus into a COVID-19 hospital. It currently has 96 beds, but we are told not all of the building is being used, so there is room to expand.