COVID-19 is filling local hospitals, officials from two area medical centers said Wednesday.
Columbus Regional is converting unused space back into patient rooms while UNC Southeastern in Lumberton is at full capacity.
Stephanie Miller of Columbus Regional said the hospital was licensed for the beds that are being brought into service, and work is underway to return them to their original function. Some of the rooms were used for offices, but all were previously functioning patient rooms. The beds are being returned to that purpose.
“We are seeing an increase in COVID patients,” she said, “so due to this combined with our non-COVID patients, we are expanding patient rooms to the fourth floor.”
CRHS had already expanded the area used for infusion therapy, which has shown promise in treating some patients without hospitalization. Infusion can only be ordered by a primary care physician.
UNC Southeastern said in a press release that patients are being urged to visit their family physician or use local clinics for anything that is not a true emergency. All staffed beds at the hospital are full, spokesperson Amanda Crabtree said.
“We are urging our community to evaluate their health care needs to determine the most appropriate place from which to seek care at this time,” said Jason Cox, UNC Health Southeastern Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Persons with true emergencies, such as trauma or chest pain, should not hesitate to come in for emergency care. Patients who do seek care from the emergency department will be treated in order of the seriousness of their condition. Individuals who seek emergency care for minor health issues will likely face extensive delays.”
Individuals who feel they may be sick and need to seek non-emergency medical care may visit a Southeastern Health primary care or walk-in clinic, Crabtree said. The walk-in clinics include: Southeastern Health Mall Clinic on the campus of Biggs Park Mall, Southeastern Multi-Specialty and Urgent Care Pembroke, and Southeastern Multi-Specialty and Urgent Care Whiteville.