GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The wait for a COVID-19 test continued Wednesday at Vidant Health’s drive-up testing site in Greenville, adding to the demand the system is seeing across its hospitals.
“We’re doing approximately 4,000 tests per day now for COVID-19,” Brian Floyd, Vidant Health Hospitals president and chief operating officer said. “And that compares to approximately the same volume every week, we’re now doing on a daily basis.”
Vidant Health has seen a 340% increase in its weekly average COVID positivity rate in the region since Dec. 1 and a 183% increase in the total number of COVID-positive inpatients across its hospitals, according to data released Wednesday.
“The volume that we’re seeing today is the highest by far that we’ve seen throughout this pandemic,” Floyd said.
As of Tuesday, the Omicron variant has contributed to almost all of Vidant’s total variants detected, a number that has increased exponentially each week, according to Vidant Health.
“One of the main questions I get asked is, ‘Hey doc, isn’t this just a less severe form of COVID than the other variants?’ Dr. Thomas Gallaher, Vidant Health infectious diseases specialist says.
Gallaher elaborated on what Vidant found from genomic sequencing.
“The one thing you have to consider about sequencing is it kinda shows you what was going on last week,” Gallaher said. “So, when we first started seeing Delta, we were at less than 2% Delta rate. And within the next week or so, we saw it jump to about 23%. And then here, lately, our last batch was over 75% of what we sequenced was Omicron… when we see folks in the hospital, it’s a good assumption they’re Omicron at this point.”
As Vidant Health experiences what they say is a significant surge in the testing process, emergency department volume, and inpatient environment, it says this, coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its staff, means it’s significantly strained in its ability to take care of Eastern North Carolina.
“Impact of COVID-19 goes far beyond just what is happening to patients who are sick with COVID-19,” Floyd said.
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