UNC Lenoir Health Care faces challenging time with COVID-19 case surge, limited staff, need for blood


KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – UNC Lenoir Health Care, like many hospitals, is in critical need of blood donations. Officials there said it’s been a continued challenge with limited staff and more COVID-19 patients.

“It’s a very difficult situation right now,” UNC Lenoir Hospital President Robert Enders. “I won’t say it’s dire but if it gets much worse, we may have to use the word dire,” said Enders.

Enders said he’s seeing a spike in COVID patients, and the rest of their patients are not slowing down.

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“We have the highest COVID census we have ever had since the COVID-19 pandemic started,” he said.

Right now, the hospital has 32 COVID patients, 11 of those are on ventilators, and six are in ICU.

“Ten of those are in our emergency room awaiting bed placement up on the floor. Every patient who is hospitalized for COVID right now did not get a vaccine,” Enders said.

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That’s why he is asking the community to do its part to help.

“That should tell everybody the importance of getting a vaccine. The severity of the illness is much less for those vaccinated patients than those who are unvaccinated,” he said.

The hospital is also in critical need of all blood types. UNC Lenoir hosted a blood drive Wednesday to encourage the community to donate.

“In the summertime, the donations decrease normally, and I think this COVID thing has exasperated that situation even worse,” said Enders.

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Kinston resident Valerie Williams said she sees the need and is grateful her donation can make a difference.

“A lot of people in ICU are in need of blood. It’s a simple thing for me to do. I can keep safe and help out members of my community,” said Williams

UNC Lenoir is now only allowing one visitor per patient. COVID patients cannot have any visitors. Hospital leaders encourage people to avoid coming to the emergency room for non-emergencies.

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