GREENVILLE N.C. (WNCT) – With COVID numbers and hospitalizations rising across the state, those increases are hitting close to home in Eastern North Carolina at Vidant Medical Center.
As of Monday, the system has a 32.1% positivity rate, which is a 340% increase since Dec. 1, and 147 inpatients which are 183 percent higher than the beginning of December.
Of those patients, 40 are in critical care units and most are unvaccinated.
“The volume that we’re seeing today is the highest by far that we’ve seen throughout the pandemic.”
Vidant officials are asking people to do the basics: get vaccinated, get tested, and wear a mask. This is to help take the strain off hospital employees.
“Our team members and our physicians are part of the community in the surge,” said Brian Floyd, president of Vidant Medical Center and chief operating officer. “They are unable to work because they are in quarantine or because they themselves are sick.”
The surge is caused by the contagious omicron variant.
“Some studies show it might be as much as three times more infectious than delta, which is really impressive,” Dr. T. Ryan Gallaher, Vidant Health infectious disease specialist. “When you have a lot more people getting infected, it’s going to lead to a lot more hospitalization.”
One of the largest factors leading to hospitalizations is vaccination status.
“It’s not rocket science, I’m looking at the numbers and 33 of 34 of patients in the ICU are unvaccinated,” Gallaher said. “16 of 17 on ventilators are unvaccinated. Let that speak for itself.”
More hospitalizations of COVID patients mean fewer resources for other emergencies and elective surgeries.
“The impact of COVID-19 goes far beyond just what is happening to patients who are sick with COVID-19,” Floyd said. “When we see this significant surge in caring for patients with COVID-19, it also stresses our system for those that have other conditions many which are far more emergent and critical.”
Floyd also added to only use the emergency room for true emergencies, and find other places to get tested if you’re experiencing mild symptoms. Check here for a list of Vidant COVI-19 testing sites.