Durham, N.C. — Hospital beds across North Carolina are filling up with coronavirus patients. Health care facilities are concerned about having to ration care in the next couple weeks as hospitalizations surge.
“There just aren’t enough nurses to go around and take care of all the patients,” said Johnston Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rodney McCaskill.
Durham VA hospital on Fulton Street, right across from the Duke University Hospital, is expanding its COVID-ward to be able relieve the burden from other facilities in the area.
“Remember, we’re taking care of people without COVID, and on top of that, have to deal with COVID-19. So, it really does stretch, especially some of these smaller hospitals,” UNC Health doctor David Wohl said.
In response, VA added 15 more beds to its COVID-ward.
“Even before the Christmas holiday, Durham VA decided to expand its bed capacity and open up an entire new unit,” Deputy Chief of the Office of Public Health Genevieve Embree said. “The beds in that unit are continuing to expand. “
The healthcare system has been able to reach out to hospitals like Duke to transfer more veterans in need. On Tuesday, more than 3,300 North Carolinians were hospitalized with coronavirus.
Newly released data from the White House indicates 87 of North Carolina’s counties, including Durham, Orange and Wake counties, are “sustained hotspots” for COVID-19.
The VA is also is offering vaccinations outside of its system to Duke residents and medical students amid the recent post-holiday spike in coronavirus cases.