Triad doctors discuss surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, plead with public to get vaccinated

Coronavirus

(WGHP) — On Tuesday morning, Doctors with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Cone Health and Novant Health hospitals in the Triad addressed a recent surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Combined, the three systems report 754 patients are hospitalized, and 145 of them on life support. According to the hospitals, more than 90% of these patients are unvaccinated, more are younger and many are from communities with low rates of vaccination and resistance to wearing masks.

People waiting at Moses Cone’s emergency department Tuesday said they noticed longer wait times. One man told FOX8 he arrived for chest pain but decided to leave after waiting several hours. 

“All of our ED volumes are above historical levels with people needing care for COVID or non-COVID,” said Dr. John Mann, who serves as president of the Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center. 

When asked when cases will peak, experts said it won’t be much longer. 

“Labor Day weekend may add a little bit of fuel to that. We saw that with all of our other holidays throughout the last 18 months, but we certainly not seeing precipitous rise that we saw three or four weeks ago,” Dr. Mann explained. 

He said Novant Health is moving patients within the system and converting medical units to intermediate or intensive care units. 

Health experts said they have enough oxygen supply and PPE,  but staffing is a challenge. 

“Not only are we all dealing with a nursing shortage and other ancillary services shortage…we are also realizing the crux of it is that we know that so much of this is preventable,” said Dr. Cynthia Snider, medical director for infection prevention in Cone Health. 

Cone Health reported 161 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of midnight on Tuesday. 

“They are doing the best they can. I used to work in a hospital. It’s hard under good circumstances. I can’t believe everybody hasn’t just thrown their clipboards and walked away,” a woman who asked not to be identified said outside the hospital while waiting on a relative to be treated. 

All three health systems are urging people to get vaccinated to help reduce the surge in hospitalizations. 

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