Triangle health care systems, businesses react to vaccine mandates, rising state COVID-19 cases

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – COVID-19 case numbers are climbing to levels that haven’t been seen in North Carolina in months.

Cases have doubled in the past week and it’s causing major health care systems, like Duke and the University of North Carolina, to require all their workers to be vaccinated.

“With this Delta variant, that’s 50 times more contagious than any other COVID variant, it’s the right thing to do,” Stephen Lawler, the president & CEO of the North Carolina Healthcare Association, said.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association supported the vaccination move and expects more health care systems and industries to do the same.

“In order for businesses to protect their workers and their patrons, this makes a lot of sense,” Lawler said.

Additionally, several universities are requiring them, along with some concert venues and smaller local businesses.

Since reopening in the pandemic, places like the Players’ Retreat’s required them for inside diners.

“It’s been great, we’ve got an amazing response,” Players’ Retreat owner Gus Gusler said. “A lot of people thought we were taking a risk doing that and we were going to lose a lot of business and honestly, it’s boosted our business.”

Gusler thinks more businesses will be doing the same as COVID cases are surging.

“For us and our business, this is what was best for all of us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing for everybody,” Gusler said.

Additionally, the Health Care Facilities Association said it doesn’t expect a move to mandate vaccines in nursing homes due partly to staffing shortages.

Although like many, it is encouraging them and the conversations that come with.

“I hope the move by health care organizations will prompt some employers to think about it and will prompt some members of our community to step forward to get vaccinated to protect themselves,” Dr. Thomas Owens, president of Duke University Hospital, said.

CBS 17 also reached out to other places such as the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association, NC Educators Association and the Retailers Association to get their thoughts on requiring vaccines. Any responses will be added. 

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