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Atrium Health treats some patients with COVID-19 from home through its Virtual Hospital

Updated: May. 21, 2020 at 10:35 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Atrium Health is treating some patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 at home through its Virtual Hospital.

Medical Director of Atrium Health’s Virtual Hospital Dr. Stephanie Murphy says by treating the patients at home, it keeps them more comfortable and reduces the spread of the virus in hospitals.

“To help to try to mitigate the spread of the virus and, of course, to allow for social distancing and quarantine,” Dr. Murphy said. “And it gave us the ability to help take care of them in a location where they are more comfortable, which is their home of course.”

Ramona Reeves contracted the virus in mid-April.

“I started having a low-grade fever, so they sent me home from work on a Friday,” Reeves recalled.

She tested positive for the virus on Saturday and her symptoms got progressively worse.

“When I couldn’t breathe, that part was very scary because I never felt like that before,” Reeves said.

She could have been admitted to the hospital but was treated through Atrium Health’s Virtual Hospital. According to Dr. Murphy, nurses check on patients who have mild cases of COVID-19 virtually.

“Our patients receive a home monitoring kit with a blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter and thermometer,” Dr. Murphy said.

In moderate cases of the virus, patients can still check their own vitals from home, but they will also speak to their physicians virtually and may receive in-person visits from community paramedics.

“Once we get to the house, we don our appropriate PPE which is N95 mask, face shield, gown, gloves, and shoe covers,” Community Paramedic Josh Debonis said.

Paramedics visited Reeves’ home three times during her bout with the virus to bring her medication and further assess her symptoms.

“Each paramedic, which made me feel good, they didn’t treat me like I had the plague. They were very nice, they talked to me, they answered any questions that I had,” Reeves said. “I’m very grateful for the virtual hospital because I really thought I was going to die. But they really answered my questions and were there for me.”

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