‘Absolutely draining’: Hospitals, staff strained as COVID-19 cases skyrocket

CHARLOTTE — The number of people with COVID-19 at area hospitals is on the rise -- and some are running out of beds during the dire situation.


Some health care workers are concerned about a shortage of nurses and doctors to handle the load.

The hospital is running out of beds for sick patients who don’t have the coronavirus.

“Our morale here in the ICU, we are overwhelmed with everything going on but we’re optimistic, and we want this to be over,” said Diana Tejada, a critical care registered nurse at Novant Presbyterian.

She is growing weary as more COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.

“It has been mentally, physically, absolutely draining,” Tejada said. “It’s hard to watch a patient get sick and then succumb to this.”

There were 2,811 people across the state that were hospitalized with the virus, according to the latest report from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

[Record high COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations reported in NC; percent positive reaches 12.5%]

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said she’s concerned about capacity challenges at local hospitals.

“We’re hearing from systems, they have increased numbers in acute care beds and also ICU beds,” Harris said.

A spokeswoman for Atrium Health said Wednesday that the hospital hasn’t reached capacity yet, but she wouldn’t give details on ICU bed space.

The state’s top health official, Dr. Mandy Cohen, said hospitals statewide are working to create more space for COVID-19 patients.

“They had COVID units,” Cohen said. “Those are full. Now they are converting other units to be COVID units as well. It does mean we have less space for other things as we staff up more on COVID.”

Health leaders are also helping nursing staffs, who are strained by the recent surge.

York County hospital prepares for surge in COVID-19 cases

Piedmont Medical Center in York County is 100% full, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

However, Piedmont officials said there are a total of 288 beds, which is more than the state reported.

Hospital officials also said it does have beds available.

“In the event we see a surge of positive cases that need to be hospitalized, our hospital has plans in place to continue providing care safely,” hospital officials said in a statement.

Health leaders want to make sure that if you or a loved one is sick, the situation should not discourage you from seeking care. Call 911 or go to the hospital if you have a life-threatening situation.