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Extended COVID-19 Surge Could Create Staffing, Supply Shortages At CarolinaEast

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CarolinaEast Medical Center reinstated visitor restrictions today, citing the growing spread of COVID-19 in the community and an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations at their facility. These heightened restrictions come after CarolinaEast relaxed their visitation rules in mid-July. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more on the hospital’s capacity and staffing concerns as the Delta variant surges. 

CarolinaEast increased their ventilator capacity last time COVID-19 cases peaked, so they’ll likely have enough this time around. But supplies could become a problem depending on how long the surge lasts and how big it gets. Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ron May, says that CarolinaEast has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 patients in the last few weeks, but they aren’t having a capacity issue right now. He says one may be coming, though. 

“We certainly have capacity to, you know, increase the volume of patients that we keep in the hospital, but we still have to have people that are able to take care of them. And our staff, like staffs all over the state and country, do get sick, they get tired, other things happen. COVID’s a problem for them to and their families as well.” 

May said their staff has been through this before, which might mean they’re prepared, but it’s also disheartening to do this all over again. CarolinaEast has not mandated vaccines for staff, as some other hospitals in North Carolina have done, but May said they are certainly considering it. Alongside COVID-19, May says he’s worried about a difficult flu season now that masking has lessened and schools are in person. He says he hopes people can be patient with and understanding of each other in these difficult times.  For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford. 



CarolinaEast is a financial supporter of PRE.

Meredith Radford is a News Reporter for Public Radio East. She studied at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a degree in Journalism and Political Science. Born and raised in Eastern North Carolina, Meredith is excited to cover the area and contribute to the community. When not out reporting, she enjoys hiking, camping and kayaking as well as baking.