LUMBERTON — UNC Health Southeastern recently marked 35 hours without a hospitalized COVID-19 positive patient from March 31 to April 2.
The medical center admitted its first COVID-19 positive patient on April 2, 2020, and peaked at more than 50 patients during the pandemic, according to the health care system. At the height of hospitalizations, COVID-19 patients accounted for more than 25% of all hospitalizations and, of those, the vast majority were unvaccinated.
“I would like to recognize those in the community, in general, for heeding advice from the medical community regarding measures to stop the spread of the virus in our community, including vaccination, masking and social distancing,” said Dr. Obiefuna Okoye, UNC Health Southeastern Infectious Diseases Medical director.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNC Health Southeastern administered more than 168,000 tests; 27,000 vaccines at the medical center and vaccine clinic; and infusions of monoclonal antibodies. The health system also transitioned to telemedicine services when patients were unable and reluctant to visit medical offices.
Throughout the pandemic, the health system adjusted services, staffing and hospital units to meet the ever-changing demands of medical care for COVID-19 patients, with fluctuating levels of severity of illness and patient counts.
“While we hope that this is an indicator our community is getting past the worst of COVID-19, we continue to be grateful for our health care team and the exceptional care they provided during a time of uncertainty and instability related to the virus,” UNC Health Southeastern President/CEO Chris Ellington said. “With every challenge along the way, our team stepped up with ideas and solutions with the best interest of the patients at the heart of every decision.”
Recent measures indicative of a waning COVID-19 virus included the health system’s expansion of visiting hours at the medical center and the elimination of masking requirements for employees working in non-clinical settings.