Charlotte doctor speaks about seeing rise in number of COVID-19 patients

Charlotte doctor speaks about seeing rise in number of COVID-19 patients

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Dr. Joshua Hughes has been helping to treat patients with the coronavirus in Charlotte for the last few months.

Hughes, an emergency medicine physician with Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medical Associates, currently works as the assistant medical director of emergency medicine at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.

He took the time to speak with WBTV Friday regarding the work he has done to help treat patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19.

“For a while there, our overall volumes really dropped, and it’s encouraging that people are coming back to the ER with non-COVID related stuff, but we are starting to see a big uptick in the patients coming in with COVID, COVID-like symptoms,” said Hughes in a Zoom interview Friday evening.

The physician said the doctors who are treating patients with COVID-19 have started to notice the influx in patients with symptoms.

“I think all of us at this point are used to this and have developed our own strategies and we’re kind of used to doing things to protect ourselves and we’ve got good systems in place so it’s not changing things in that regard, but we definitely feel it. You can tell we’re seeing more of these patients,” said Hughes.

Earlier this week, North Carolina state health leaders noted that they were concerned about hospital capacity in Charlotte. Local health leaders responded by saying they were not concerned about running out of space for patients.

Hughes said he is admitting more people to the hospital who have COVID-19 or are strongly suspected to have COVID-19.

“I’m not aware of any capacity issues yet. We’ve been able to take care of them for the most part, so that’s good. But there is always that concern of if the numbers go up. We’ve gotta be on-guard and be ready,” Hughes said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced in June that residents are required to wear face masks in public. Still, some people continue to defy the governor’s order. Hughes said he doesn’t view the masks as a political issue.

“I think wearing a mask is appropriate and has been shown with appropriate distancing, that it’s been shown to help so I definitely support it and I think it’s the right thing to do, especially to protect others and to keep our numbers down here,” Hughes said.

The doctor encouraged members of the public to be respectful of others and to help keep the COVID-19 numbers down.

“Continue social distancing and if you need to be closer to people, please wear a mask, particularly indoors. That’s the one thing I have to say,” said Hughes.

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