Central NC hospitals feel surge of Labor Day COVID-19 cases


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It was a problem that was feared and now it’s coming to fruition.

We’re talking about spiking COVID-19 numbers from the Labor Day weekend.

Those tracking numbers show a big increase in cases at Cape Fear Hospital and its associated medical centers in Cumberland County.

For months, it’s been a constant refrain from health officials – get vaccinated, get vaccinated.

Hospitals like Cape Fear Valley Medical say vaccines could have helped prevent this post-Labor Day surge.

“The delta variant is burning through the unvaccinated population,” said Chris Tart of Cape Fear Medical Center.

In Cumberland County, the hospital is seeing the start of what it calls the “post-Labor Day surge” of cases.

Administrators say with 190 COVID cases in its main hospital and associated facilities, they are struggling to keep up.

“Our ICUs are full,” said Tart. “We still have many unvaccinated COVID patients.”

“We have a ton of ICU beds full and we’re in Crisis mode,” he said.

UNC REX Hospitals say they are treating 385 COVID patients system-wide. The hospital says in its ICUs are 100 people who they call “post-Covid” patients.

Spokesman Alan Wolf said those post-COVID patients are no longer infectious but “are still very sick and require ICU-level care.”

Most have been in the ICU for at least 21 days

Duke Health officials tell CBS 17 they have 162 COVID-19 cases in its main hospital and affiliates right now.

It says intensive care patient numbers have been steady over the past several days with 37 people in its ICU system-wide.

Cape Fear officials say its system has been tracking COVID-19 deaths at its facilities since the vaccines became available.

It says 94 percent of those who have died from COVID in its facilities were unvaccinated.

“The folks in our ICUs are younger and younger,” said Tart. “We’re having 30 to 40-year-olds die with no co-morbidities who are unvaccinated.”

Health officials like Tart say the spike in Covid numbers “is like clockwork.”

They say after every holiday or major indoor event, they see a spike in COVID cases especially among the unvaccinated.

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