Area hospitals say COVID-19 surge could exceed hospitalizations from earlier this year
CAPE FEAR REGION, NC (WWAY) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, more people are ending up in the hospital with the new Delta variant of the virus.
Bladen County Emergency Management announced Friday that due to hospitals being at or near full capacity, people calling EMS may not be able to be transported to their preferred hospital.
Cape Fear Valley Bladen County Hospital has a 22-bed medical-surgical unit and a four-bed ICU. Hospital President and CFO Stephen Fife says all four ICU beds are occupied by covid patients. They have the capacity to take two on their med-surg unit, with one covid patient currently in the med-surg unit.
Fife says they have two “true-isolation” rooms on the med-surg unit where the air does not circulate through other patient rooms and areas of the hospital. The ICU beds are also classified as “true-isolation.” He says the recent surge can be credited to the new variant.
“The surges that we’re seeing in the past few weeks is definitely attributable to covid. Our percent positive is around 30-percent over the last few weeks,” Fife said. “The delta variant, it’s really been a game-changer for us. We’re seeing a lot of folks come in that are younger. In the beginning, we had a lot of older folks being hospitalized but we’re seeing them younger and younger here recently coming to the hospital.”
Though the numbers are rising, Fife says they do have room for people who come to the hospital seeking help for non-covid related emergencies as well.
Just across the county line at Columbus Regional, a spokesperson says they’re at 80 to 85-percent capacity and 30-percent of that is covid patients. Based on the emergency department volumes, they expect these numbers to increase.
A majority of those patients have not been vaccinated.
In New Hanover County, Assistant Health Director Carla Turner says just last week over 500 people tested positive for the virus.
“We have a way to address this but people aren’t taking advantage of it. That’s what’s frustrating,” Turner said. “We know that it works and we know that it’s not just going to go away on its own.”
According to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center COVID dashboard, 52 people are currently hospitalized.
A Novant Health spokesperson shared a statement that reads:
It will take everyone doing their part to bring an end to this pandemic, which our health care workers have been on the frontlines fighting for 18 months. We urge everyone to get vaccinated. We also encourage all vaccinated individuals to follow updated CDC guidance to further protect themselves, and others, as the Delta variant continues to spread.
“We have never had a vaccine in the history of vaccinations that gives a 100-percent guarantee that you will not get that communicable disease. What these vaccinations do is they give you a level of immunity that you wouldn’t have otherwise,” Turner said. “They decrease your chances of getting covid; but if you do get covid, they decrease your chances of severe illness, ending up in the hospital and dying.”
WWAY reached out to Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport to find out their capacity levels, but they said they do not share that information with reporters.