Vidant Health has reported a positive COVID-19 test rate of over 20% for the last seven days. P-R-E’s Meredith Radford reports that Vidant Health’s intention for their vaccine requirement for staff is to make sure they maintain enough workers to meet their community’s demands.
As of Monday, Vidant Health reported 143 COVID-19 inpatients, about 40 of which were in the critical care unit and about 22 were on ventilators. More than 90% of these COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. Vidant is running at capacity, and with the Delta variant continuing to cause case surges across the state, the hospital’s leadership fears staffing issues due to COVID-19 illness and ongoing nursing shortages. Vidant Medical Center president and Vidant Health chief operating officer Brian Floyd says the way to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed is by everyone in the community using the tools available to them to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“This was not about an individual issue; this is about the good of the many and the fulfillment of our mission to make sure we can improve the health and wellbeing of Eastern North Carolina. And in that mission, there’s the implication to not unintentionally harm someone by creating an environment where a virus could thrive in the middle of a pandemic because we just simply haven’t followed the very science we use to care for our patients.”
The deadline for doctors and leadership to be vaccinated at Vidant is October first, and for other staff the deadline is December first. Floyd says staff have the option to get an exemption from their physician for religious or medical reasons. There have been several protests outside of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville against the vaccine requirement for staff. Floyd says Vidant has had no resignations to date specifically tied to the vaccine requirement. For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford.
Vidant Health is a financial supporter of PRE.