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‘Beds are scarce’: Top N.C. doctors concerned over COVID-19 hospitalizations ahead of Labor Day weekend

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Thursday morning doctors from Novant, Atrium and CaroMont Health held a joint press conference to provide an update on the surging hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

They are concerned about the trends heading into Labor Day weekend.

“Quite frankly beds are scarce,” Dr. Sid Fletcher, senior vice president and chief clinical officer for Novant Health, said. “We’re running short on resources.”

Right now across all three hospital systems, 933 people are hospitalized with Covid-19.

857, or 92% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.

126 patients are on life support, and 122 of them are unvaccinated, accounting for 97% of them.

“The way out of this is vaccination,” Dr. Todd Davis, chief physician executive for CaroMont Health, said. “We were able to conquer smallpox and polio through vaccination, and we have that opportunity now.”

Doctors’ concerns are high as we head into Labor Day Weekend.

Tens of thousands of people will travel into the Queen City for big, crowded football games and bar hopping.

“Wear that mask, do what you can to prevent spread to other people,” Dr. Katie Passaretti, epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention for Atrium Health, said. “Limiting those indoor larger group gatherings, reconsidering travel plans if you’re unvaccinated, in particular.”

Clemson alum James Reach is counting down to game day.

“I’m comfortable with the level of risk because I trust that I’m fully vaccinated being outside, and you hope that’s enough,” Reach told WBTV.

He did his part by getting the shot, but he says he will continue to be mindful.

“It’s the following days after the weekend right?” he said. “Are you experiencing symptoms, are the people you were with experiencing symptoms, and try to make that judgment call?”

Doctors say if you aren’t worried about yourself, think of the health care workers who at this point are far more tired of this pandemic than you are.

The doctors also said staffing shortages began before the pandemic, and have continued to become more of a problem.

Dr. Davis said the shortages are not due to vaccine mandates for team members, as they have seen few resignations due to that requirement.

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