Local hospitals prepare for surge in COVID-19 cases


As many states around the country prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases, are local hospitals in the Piedmont ready?

FOX8 is told there are enough PPE, beds, and supplies at the three biggest hospital systems in the Triad.

Health care officials have not seen a big increase in the cases over the last few months, but things could change quickly.

Leaders say it’s up to everyone to make sure they’re doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus, so the health care systems and hospitals don’t get overloaded.

Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, doctors and nurses in the Triad know what to expect.

“We’ve learned to coexist with COVID,” said Dr. Lawrence Nycum, the chief clinical officer at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center. “We have high confidence we will meet the needs of the patients and the families in our community.”

Nycum told FOX8 they have enough PPE, beds and staff to treat COVID patients into 2021.

Cone Health has over 100 beds at its Green Valley campus and several units set aside at different Cone Health facilities.

“We really don’t know what to expect during the winter. We are concerned that as people are inside more, they’ll have more opportunity to spread Coronavirus,” Dr. Bruce Swords said, chief physician executive for Cone Health.

He’s not focused on what’s ahead. He’s more concerned about dealing with the area’s current COVID-19 cases.

“I’m not a big fan of the term ‘second’ wave,” Swords said. “Because right now, I’d be happy if the first wave would go away.”

His staff constantly tracks supply and demand.

Swords also has a team predicting what the future may look like, based on trends in Triad communities.

“We have meetings regularly to make sure we continue to be prepared. We follow our testing supplies and our personal protective equipment every week,” he said.

What Swords is worried about is the lack of comradery within the community, which could change COVID’s impact on families and local businesses.

He wants everyone to do their part.

“Right out, our job is, when you go outside, wear a mask and stay away from people. It really is quite simple. I don’t like wearing a mask any more than anybody else,” Swords said. “I can get tired of wearing a mask, but it’s the right thing to do. We’re all members of this community. So let’s just do the right thing.”

Both Swords and Nycum stressed the importance of getting the flu shot this year.

They also expressed the importance of adhering to the three Ws, wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing hands, will keep the virus from spreading and can put less of a strain on the health care system.

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