Forsyth Medical Center COO Chad Setliff addresses coronavirus outbreak

Newsmakers

We can manage COVID-19, if everyone does his or her part! That’s the message from the top administrator of one of the Piedmont Triad’s major healthcare providers.

Chad Setliff is the president and chief operating officer of the Forsyth Medical Center (the area’s largest hospital in terms of number of beds), as well as the other Novant Health facilities in the Winston-Salem market. These include medical centers in Kernersville, Thomasville and Clemmons. He oversees 12,000 employees.

I spoke with him via internet chat regarding the coronavirus pandemic and his view moving forward. Here’s the text of our conversation, edited for brevity:

*Neill*

“I was wondering if you can give me a general, broad overall perspective in terms of what you’re seeing in terms of patients showing up with COVID-19 and where do you think we are in the battle right now?”

*Chad Setliff*

“We’ve been watching this since about December. We’ve got an infectious disease team that system-wide has been looking at this both internationally and nationally, state, local and federal levels. We’ve seen through our screening sites and also through our hospitalizations, we’ve seen some patients obviously in this market.”

*Neill*

“Any idea when we’re going to reach a peak at this point or are we just too far out or are there too many models to look at?”

*Chad Setliff*

“So the models are truly dependent on how well our communities adhere to the stay-at-home orders and the social distancing. And if we adhere to that, we’re going to see a much flatter curve, one that we feel very confident we can manage.”

*Neill*

“What’s keeping you up at night? What’s your biggest concern today?”

*Chad Setliff*

“So what keeps me up mostly at night is just making sure everybody’s doing their part. And I would ask everybody that’s watching this to please adhere to some of the guidance that is being presented by the CDC, by our local municipalities and the state. And we will get through this and we need everybody’s help to do such.”

*Neill*

“How concerned are you that your providers there at Novant Health could become overwhelmed and would be forced into making some really difficult decisions regarding patients?”

*Chad Setliff*

“So, what’s really gonna depend on it, is how well our society can really comply. If we have good compliance and adherence to that, we should see a manageable curve.”

*Neill*

“Ventilators and PPE: how do you stand right now and is that a big concern for you there at Novant Health locally?”

*Chad Setliff*

“As of today, we’re in a very good place as it relates to both the ventilators and PPE; that said, there are surges that could put a very high pressure on our ability to manage that.”

*Neill*

“Testing has been another big issue. Do you have enough tests?”

*Chad Setliff*

“Current state? We do. W, have been able to manage our supply of testing through our testing sites and also in the hospital following the CDC guidance of who to test. Again, if we see a surge that’s manageable, we will be fine with testing.”

*Neill*

“Chad, what is your big message to my viewers? The community right now?”

*Chad Setliff*

“Novant Health is here. We’re prepared in our medical centers to deliver on our mission and our duty to take care of our community at this time. But it has to be a collaborative effort. With a collective effort and a common and aligned goal, we will be very successful in getting through this together.”

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