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Novant and Atrium Health seeing more hospitalizations of unvaccinated people as Delta variant spreads

Doctors say more than 99 percent of the hospitalizations and deaths in our area could be prevented by the vaccine.
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The CDC is sounding the alarm on a national rise in COVID-19 cases.

The highly contagious Delta variant is spreading fast in America and leaving those still unvaccinated vulnerable to getting very sick.

Meanwhile, the rise in cases in North Carolina is once again causing our state hospitals to fill up with sick COVID-19 patients. As of Tuesday, more than 600 people across the state are in the hospital fighting the virus.

Local health officials are adamant that this is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

The rise of hospitalizations is due to the fact that the Delta variant is highly transmissible. Doctors say the way to get hospitalizations back on the decline is to get more people vaccinated.

Camille Soto says she spent a week in a Gaston County hospital in February after contracting COVID pneumonia. Now that Soto is hearing that hospitalizations in and around Charlotte rising, she is scared.

“You get short out of breath, I had really bad fevers of 103.4, cold sweats, hot sweats, it was scary,” Soto told WBTV. “I have PTSD and anxiety from it.”

According to Novant Health, the average age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the hospital dropped from 61 to 47.

Out of those patients, about 15 percent have to be put on a ventilator.

Four Novant Health hospitals are now in the double digits of COVID-19 cases.

The highest numbers are in areas with lower vaccination rates, like Forsyth and Rowan counties.

Atrium Health is seeing similar trends.

“The vast, vast majority of hospitalizations and truly the vast majority of cases are still in unvaccinated, just positive tests,” Dr. Katie Passaretti with Atrium Health said.

But there are breakthrough cases.

“Occasionally someone who has an immune system issue who was vaccinated came in,” Dr. David Priest with Novant Health said. “Certainly vaccinated people can get covid and we see that. But almost universally when those vaccinated people get covid it’s a mild case.”

Dr. Priest says there is a way to end this pandemic, but people have to realize it’s going to take everyone.

“I understand fears and concerns, but we’ve got to work through that for the good of the community and get vaccinated,” he said. “It’s the best way to get out of this.”

Doctors say more than 99 percent of the hospitalizations and deaths in our area could be prevented by the vaccine.

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