NC hospitals at precipice as COVID-19 slams capacity

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CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) — Health administrators and physicians across North Carolina on Tuesday warned that hospitals are on the precipice of exceeding capacity as the holiday surge of COVID-19 pummels the state.

“The issue is staffing,” Dr. Rodney McCaskill, Chief Medical Officer at UNC Hospital in Clayton, told ABC11. “There are not enough nurses or respiratory therapists for beds. The patients coming in are much sicker than what we saw before COVID, and COVID illness in elderly is particularly harsh.”

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According to McCaskill, UNC canceled all elective surgeries at both its locations in Johnston County.

“You lose some nurses because they have to go home and take care of kids because they’re not in school,” he said. “We’ve lost some nurses because they’re traveling or gone to big hospitals to make more money.”

Hospitals, moreover, can’t lower standards to speed up the onboarding process to hire new nurses.

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