With COVID hospitalizations at a record, NC asks FEMA to send more staff

North Carolina had a record 4,867 people in hospitals with COVID-19 on Friday, a record that has been climbing daily since the beginning of the year.

The state Department of Health and Human Services has reached out to the federal government for help with staffing at strapped hospitals in the Charlotte region.

“The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and North Carolina Emergency Management are requesting federal support for the Charlotte region to help alleviate capacity constraints,” the DHHS wrote on Friday.

Atrium Health, the state’s largest health provider, is above capacity and running out of ways to stretch an already-reduced staff to care for the growing number of COVID patients.

DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsely blamed some of the strain on unvaccinated people, who more easily contract COVID-19 and are more likely to suffer complications that require hospitalization.

“The vast majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” Kinsley said. “While we will continue to pull every lever we can to safeguard hospital care, each North Carolinian can do their part by staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations and wearing a well-fitting mask when around other people as we weather this surge.”

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