RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As many hospitals across the state get dangerously close to capacity, the North Carolina Nurses Association is calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to add more COVID-19 restrictions.
“At one point back in the summer and early fall we were running somewhere between 50-75% capacity in the ICUs, and now we’re up to 90-99% capacity,” said Dr. Dennis Taylor, president of the association.
Taylor said the growing workload, dwindling number of hospital beds, and shortage of staff are critical. He and nurses across the state believe additional restrictions will help slow the spread of the virus and relieve the pressure on hospitals and health care workers.
“As being the most trusted profession in the country for over 20 years now, please listen to us,” Taylor said. “This is not a political statement, this is not a statement of anything other than a genuine concern for the citizens of the state.”
But exactly what Taylor and the association want Gov. Cooper to do is difficult to define.
“We’re certainly not suggesting we go back to a complete economic shutdown,” said Taylor of wanting more restrictions. “But we certainly want to encourage folks to please wear your masks and please limit the social gatherings.”
When asked about stepping up enforcement on existing restrictions, Taylor said, “That’s gonna be very difficult. I think I would like to see a lot more personal responsibility on behalf of the citizens of our state.”
Cooper’s press secretary released a statement to CBS 17 which mentions enforcement:
“Our office appreciates the input from nurses who have worked bravely and tirelessly on the front lines of this pandemic. Strong safety precautions are in effect right now including one of the strongest mask mandates in the country, a limited stay at home order, indoor bar closures, mass gathering limits and retail capacity reductions. We are working hard to see that they are enforced by local governments and law enforcement. Even so, all options are on the table and will be guided by data and science to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians.”
Taylor added, “We stand behind them [state government] in terms of doing whatever it takes for us to try and get these numbers turned in the other direction.”