‘The pandemic isn’t over:’ Family of Durham man battling COVID urges community to not let their guard down

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to fall across the state, but there are still 933 people fighting the virus in hospitals in North Carolina, according to numbers released by the state health department on Friday.

Brian Edwards is 54 and is an essential worker from Durham. He has been hospitalized with COVID-19 at Duke Regional Hospital since early February.

“My dad is like my best friend and so to see him like this, it really hurts,” said Edwards’ son, Brian Edwards, who shares the same name as his father.

Edwards said that shortly after his father was admitted to the hospital, his father went into a coma.

“He had to be put on a ventilator and incubated and he just woke up this past Monday,” Edwards said.

While his father is awake now, Edwards said he will have to relearn how to do everything, which includes how to talk, write, and move his muscles.

Although he said it may seem like his dad is getting better, he said his condition could change at any minute.

“It’s scary, and real uncertain,” Edwards.

Overall, state numbers show that COVID hospitalizations are down in the state.

UNC Health officials said they are currently treating 110 COVID patients at their hospitals, which is a 78 percent decrease from their peak of more than 500 patients in mid-January.

At UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, there are 18 COVID patients hospitalized and eight of those are in ICU.

Even though hospitalizations are down, UNC Health officials tell CBS 17 they still see new COVID patients come in for treatment every day.

“Just over the past couple of days, we’ve seen a slight uptick which is concerning,” said Dr. Ahbi Mehrotra, vice-chair of operations in UNC’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “This could be due to some of the new variants that we’re seeing, or it could be people letting their guard down.”

Even though more people are getting vaccinated, Dr. Mehrotra said we are not out of the woods yet and everyone should continue to social distance and wear masks.

As Edwards watches his father continue to battle COVID, he has concerns about the state loosening gathering restrictions and he urges everyone to continue to take the virus seriously.

“The pandemic is not over, and the state should not be reopening,” Edwards said. “It takes something tragic to teach some people. I think if you take responsibility and be vigilant and keep yourself healthy, that’ll go a long way.”

Officials with Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville said they are also seeing a decrease in COVID hospitalizations.

Currently Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is treating 14 COVID patients, which is a 90 percent drop from the 128 COVID patients that were hospitalized during their peak in mid-January.

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