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Responding to COVID-19

| Date Posted: 3/12/2020

FirstHealth of the Carolinas continues to respond to the spread of COVID-19 across the Sandhills. FirstHealth physicians, nurses and staff are committed to keeping our communities safe while providing exceptional care. 

 

Latest Information

FirstHealth is committed to testing and treating patients as needed. Below you will find information on the total number of COVID-positive hospitalized patients being treated across the FirstHealth system, the number of COVID-19 tests we have done and the results of those tests. The numbers below represent tests conducted at locations within the FirstHealth system. Check back daily for updated numbers.

 

COVID-Positive
Hospitalized Patients

21

Total Census


359

% Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19

5.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tests Completed*

100,436

Positive*

13,312

Negative

85,951

Results Pending

193

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Tests completed represents total number of tests completed to include some retests
*Positives are unique positive results
Updated 3/3/21 at 3:42 p.m.

 

COVID-19 Vaccines

Beginning in late December, FirstHealth expects to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine doses that will be administered to frontline health care workers fighting the coronavirus.  

 

FirstHealth will follow guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as it receives additional doses. Availability of the vaccine will depend on how many doses FirstHealth receives and which phase of the rollout plan the state is in. Those most at risk from COVID-19 will receive it first. Group 1 and 2 vaccinations are underway in North Carolina, and FirstHealth is vaccinating eligible members of the public through Operation FirstShot. Vaccine supply will continue to be limited even over the next few weeks. Visit FirstHealth.org/shot for additional information. 

 

Great care has been taken to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. More than 70,000 people have participated in clinical trials for two vaccines to test their safety and efficacy, and to date, those vaccines are nearly 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no safety concerns.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for making sure the vaccines are safe and effective and granted an Emergency Use Authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also released guidance on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

 

Also, read this message from FirstHealth Infectious Disease Physician Gretchen Arnoczy, M.D., about why she’s excited and looking forward to rolling her sleeve up.  

 

Ways we are keeping you safe

FirstHealth has always been committed to providing exceptional care, and that remains true during this pandemic. Throughout our system, we have implemented robust procedures for ensuring your health and safety: 

 

  • Visitor restrictions remain in place at our hospitals
  • Masks are required at all FirstHealth facilities and clinics
  • Temperature checks for all patients, staff and visitors
  • Keeping facilities clean
  • Expanding virtual health options to reduce time in facilities

 

tips for staying healthy

There are many ways you can lower your risk of contracting COVID-19. First: stay at home when you can. Social distancing is key to helping slow the spread of the coronavirus. We also encourage the following: 

 

  • Wear a mask when you are in public or when social distancing is difficult
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill and stay home from work or school if you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Do not reuse tissues after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

 

Be on the lookout for coronavirus symptoms, which include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. 

 

VISITOR RESTRICTIONS

To protect patients, visitors and our staff, enhanced visitation restrictions remain in place at our hospitals and clinics. There are exceptions to the policy, including the following:

 

  • Hospital Inpatient, Surgery and ICU patients — One healthy adult support person. Patients are encouraged to identify one support person for the duration of their stay.
  • Hospital Outpatient (for example, lab testing, imaging or cardiology testing at a FirstHealth hospital) — One healthy adult support person.
  • Emergency Department — One healthy adult support person. 
  • Women & Children’s — One healthy adult support person for laboring and obstetric patients for the duration of their stay.
  • All FirstHealth Clinics — One healthy adult support person, but we encourage visitors to wait in their car to limit the number of people in the waiting room.

 

Any visitor granted an exception will be subject to health screening before they enter a FirstHealth emergency department and they must wear a mask at all times. No visitors under the age of 18 are allowed, and no visitation is allowed for COVID-19 positive patients or patients who are under investigation, except during end-of-life situations.

 

caring for you in new ways

FirstHealth has dramatically increased access to virtual care options since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Our Primary Care and Convenient Care clinics are offering video, phone or curbside visits, and the FirstHealth On the Go app allows you to meet with a doctor anytime, anywhere on your smartphone. If you need in-person care for severe symptoms, call before visiting your Primary Care provider, a Convenient Care clinic or a FirstHealth emergency department. This will assist health care providers to take steps to get you the appropriate care you need while keeping others safe.

 

COVID-19 Testing

FirstHealth of the Carolinas COVID-19 testing costs $75.00 or $110.00 depending on the type of test, before insurance or financial assistance discounts are applied. If you have health insurance, you will likely pay nothing, as most insurance companies are fully covering the cost of testing. If you don’t have insurance, please visit our Financial Assistance Program section of the website. Doctor visits and other services outside of the test, including convenient care and emergency room visits, are billed separately as any other medical services at FirstHealth of the Carolinas.

 

additional resources

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