FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Forsyth County’s public health director called the most recent surge in COVID-19 cases “staggering.”
In a joint news conference with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and Novant Health, Joshua Swift said Friday there has been a 379% increase in the number of cases over the past 14 days.
“If the emergency room is busy, it takes longer to turn over patients. If it takes longer to turn over patients, ultimately, it affects our response time. When you call 911, it’s going to take us longer to get there. Our trucks are not in the districts they’re running call after call after call,” said Forsyth County Emergency Services Director Daren Ziglar.
Neither hospital system has been forced to divert patients, but space is running out.
Novant Health is at 90% capacity across its system. Dr. Stan Fuller explained some facilities are higher at 98-99%.
He said doctors, nurses and other “healthcare heroes” are fatigued.
“They don’t really want to be heroes anymore. They want to go back to being moms and dads, brothers and sisters. They get tired. They also get sick,” he said.
Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, estimates about 5% of hospital staff are out with COVID.
FOX8 asked how hospitals are working to alleviate pressure on doctors and nurses.
“Float pools, on-call pools, contract labor, trying to help nurses out as far as taking some of the burden off them…for example, pharmacy techs come to the floor to help with med pass. All kinds of things we’re thinking of,” Dr. Fuller said.
Dr. Ohl said Friday people experiencing cold and flu symptoms don’t necessarily need to get a COIVD test if they are able to stay home and follow CDC guidelines for isolation.
He said it’s possible federal help will ease the strain.
“We’re reaching out to the state, which reaches out to the federal government, to help with testing resources because…we have to be able to increase access to testing, particularly in our marginalized populations,” he said. “Those discussions are taking place right now, but the problem is almost every state east of the Mississippi is in the same boat we are.”