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Published on November 17, 2020

COVID-19 Numbers on Alarming Trend

Cone Health asks public to avoid others and rethink holiday plans.



Greensboro – For the first time, Cone Health is treating more than 100 people with COVID-19 in its hospitals. The COVID-19 patient census this morning is 103. If current transmission rates of the virus continue, projections are that this number will increase to over 150 by year-end and grow much higher in the new year. The health network is asking the public to take immediate steps to slow the spread of the virus. 

“These trends are very alarming,” says Terry Akin, CEO, Cone Health. “We must have the support of the public and we are depending on the smart behavior of individuals and businesses to slow the spread of this highly contagious virus. Our extremely committed doctors and nurses, our facilities and resources are becoming stretched. As a result, Cone Health faces possible reductions in other (non-COVID-19) care and services. This is clearly not a good situation for our communities. We are quickly reaching the point where governments will need to consider imposing more restrictions. Thanks to the folks across our communities who are being careful, but we really need everyone to get serious and take steps to bring this virus under control.” 

Cone Health has capacity to treat 116 people at Green Valley campus—its COVID-19-only hospital. Other Cone Health hospitals have capacity to treat additional people with COVID-19. However, projections show a high risk of stressing even that capacity in the coming months. 

“We have seen a sizable bump in the number of people with COVID-19 after every holiday,” says Dr. Bruce Swords, chief physician executive, Cone Health. “Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s are often celebrated with extended families. They are usually celebrated indoors. Those conditions are perfect for spreading coronavirus.” 

Cone Health urges people to:

  • Wear masks in public areas and around those who do not live with you, including neighbors and friends.
  • Wash your hands frequently. 
  • Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet.  
  • Reconsider holiday plans with safety in mind. Limit gatherings to only those in your immediate household. Remember - older relatives especially are at high risk for severe cases of COVID-19.
  • Avoid dining indoors at full-service restaurants and cafes. Consider takeout or outdoor dining instead.
  • Avoid indoor fitness centers.
  • Worship outdoors or online, or wear masks at indoor services while maintaining appropriate physical distance.
  • Limit exposure to people outside your immediate household.

“No one likes the idea of more drastic measures or restrictions. But if we don’t all act soon, we may have no other choice,” says Akin.