As COVID hospitalizations surge, NC asks FEMA for support
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — As North Carolina hospitals treat a record number of coronavirus patients, state health officials announced Friday that they’re seeking federal support in the Charlotte area.
With Atrium Health, the state’s largest health provider, Health and Human Services and Emergency Management officials are asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency and assistant secretary for preparedness and response for staffing support, according to a news release. The state is asking FEMA for resources, including additional nurses, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement.
North Carolina has set daily hospitalization records all month, reaching another high Thursday with 4,867 people hospitalized, but health officials said since hospitalizations lag case increases, this number could go higher.
To stretch capacity, Atrium Health said it has redeployed staff from urgent care and outpatient centers, limited non-urgent procedures, closed specialty centers and used state-provided flexibilities, but it’s above 95% capacity.
Unvaccinated people make up 72% of hospitalizations and 83% of COVID-19-related intensive care admissions statewide, officials said.
“While we will continue to pull every lever we can to safeguard hospital care, each North Carolinian can do their part by staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations and wearing a well-fitting mask when around other people as we weather this surge,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley said in a statement.