NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — As COVID-19 variants continue to spread across our communities, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are reaching heights we saw at the beginning of the pandemic. Local hospitals are trying to adjust to the spike.
Across the state, as of Monday:
- 3,509 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.
- The daily percent positive is 14.5% for case coming back.
- 65% of the adult population in the state are partially vaccinated.
- 60% of the adult population in the state is fully vaccinated.
CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern recently added another COVID unit, which gives them 17 additional beds for critical patients. As of Monday, the hospital currently has 49 COVID inpatients, four in the ICU, and one is currently on a ventilator. Staff at CarolinaEast tell 9OYS it’s the highest number they’ve had in months.
ICU Clinical Nurse Manager Melinda Houston said it’s a constant struggle to ensure they have enough beds with adequate equipment to treat these patients. She also said they are coming in much sicker than in the past.
Patients that are coming to the ICU are sicker. We had patients in the ICU with COVID that were sick for several months and we could get them through it with tracheostomies, feeding tubes, long term ventilation. Our patients now, they are not lasting two weeks on a ventilator, they are dying.Melinda Houston, ICU Clinical Nurse Manager
Medical professionals at CarolinaEast say they are doing everything they can, but they need people to get vaccinated.
Dr. Roy Everett, medical director of the intensive care unit at CarolinaEast, said this is a disease of the unvaccinated. He tells 9OYS, “99.5% of the deaths are unvaccinated, how much clearer can that be? Over 97% of the hospitalizations are in the unvaccinated, how much clearer can that be?”
Everett urges people to get the vaccine as soon as they possibly can. He says it’s heartbreaking to see people in the ICU dying from COVID-19, and they are asking for and want the vaccine, but it’s too late.
A concern right now is if hospitals in the state rise to full capacity, what can be done this time around? Everett said it will likely mean more COVID-19 deaths.