MOREHEAD CITY — Carteret Health Care is pausing elective inpatient procedures at the hospital Tuesday in light of an ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases driven mainly by the delta variant of the coronavirus.
The measure applies to non-emergency procedures, such as weight loss surgeries and some orthopedic procedures that require the patient be admitted and stay overnight. Emergency and non-elective procedures will continue as normal, and those patients affected by the pause will be contacted by the hospital directly.
According to CHC community relations marketing director Michelle Lee, hospital officials will revisit the decision on a daily basis depending on that day’s census of COVID-19 patients and other key metrics.
“We’ve been monitoring daily since the early days of COVID,” she said Tuesday. “Like other hospitals, we’re having to reallocate our resources.”
As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, the hospital had 24 patients hospitalized for management of COVID-19 symptoms, with roughly half requiring critical care, according to Ms. Lee. Four of those patients were reportedly fully vaccinated and the other 20 were not.
Ms. Lee said because other hospitals in the region are experiencing similar high census counts, most facilities are not accepting transfer patients, so CHC is caring for higher numbers of sicker patients.
“We do have some very sick patients in here,” Ms. Lee said. “…This just allows (physicians) to take care of these patients who are so sick.”
In mid-August, CHC implemented stricter visitation guidelines in response to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, including limiting all patients to one healthy, adult visitor for the duration of their stay. Further, visitors of emergency department patients are not allowed in the waiting room, the cafeteria, Java Stop coffee shop and gift shop.
Carteret County Health Director Nina Oliver encouraged people who haven’t yet done so to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
“We continue to call on those who are not vaccinated to get the shots, as the unvaccinated continue to make up the majority of hospitalizations,” she said in an email to the News-Times Tuesday. “We continue to recommend everyone take precautions and wear a mask while in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, practice good hand hygiene, maintain a safe distance in large gatherings, and stay home when you are sick.”
Contact Elise Clouser at firstname.lastname@example.org; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.