‘This is not a hoax’: Onslow Memorial workers express concern over high number of COVID-19 cases


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Onslow Memorial Hospital is encouraging people to take coronavirus seriously after seeing a drastic increase in COVID-19 patients in the last week.

“This is not a hoax,” said Sabrina Dupey, who is a patient care tech at the hospital. “This is not a fake thing that just came out of nowhere. You can die from this.”

Healthcare workers at Onslow Memorial have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for nearly a year now. They say each day get a little harder.

“I see people die everyday,” said Dupey. “I see us having to perform CPR on patients everyday.”

The hospital averaged 23 COVID patients per day from March through mid-December. In the last week of December, patients’ load increased to 32 per day. On January 5, the hospital had 43 COVID patients. Now, there are 46 COVID positive inpatients, which is the highest volume since the pandemic started.

“There are parts of me that wish the public in general could see what I see when I go to work,” said Kelly Dzurilla, a nurse in the COVID unit. “But there are parts of me that is so grateful they don’t have to because I feel like they would be terrified.”

The hospital has 162 regular patient beds and 12 intensive care beds. Doctors expect most of them to be in use in the coming weeks.

Work during the pandemic is an uphill battle for these healthcare workers, but one thing keeps them coming back everyday.

“I love my patients,” said Dupey. “I loved my patients before COVID. I’ll love them after COVID.”

These nurses say they do have newfound hope with the COVID vaccine. They’re encouraging everyone to get their doses when it’s time.

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