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Category: COVID-19

Health Systems and Hospitals Urge North Carolinians to Unite to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

What would you do to save someone’s life? For most people, it’s an easy answer: at a minimum, you would do anything you could without significantly endangering your own life or the lives of those you hold most dear.

The COVID-19 pandemic is killing thousands of people each day and sickening millions more around the world. It’s a global problem with a huge, local impact. Yet many people are choosing not to take the threat seriously and, in doing so, are endangering not only their own lives but also the lives of our neighbors and families.

As the physician leaders of hospitals and health systems throughout the state of North Carolina, we have seen firsthand our friends and neighbors all too often become our COVID patients. We see the number of cases rising every day. We see the potential for large spikes in cases which will overwhelm some hospitals. We see people dying and wonder how many of them could have lived if more people made different choices about closely following public health guidance.

This pandemic knows no borders. It is impacting our cities and towns and every rural corner of the state. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we urge every resident of and visitor to North Carolina to think about these simple ways we can all protect each other:

  • Keep Thanksgiving festivities small; limit the number of guests to make sure everyone can properly keep their distance.
  • Hold events outside, keep tables spread out and guests seated with other members of their immediate household.
  • Consider getting a COVID-19 test ahead of time, and remember – testing is not foolproof; it is a snapshot in time and you could still be contagious at a later point.
  • Avoid large Black Friday crowds in retail stores.
  • And always wear a mask over your mouth and nose, except while eating.

We recognize masks are uncomfortable and it’s both frustrating and disappointing not to celebrate this year’s holidays with traditional large gatherings. While we are encouraged that safe and effective vaccines may be coming soon, we know that we are months away from making vaccination widely available. With this in mind, we are asking for your help now. We must decrease the spread of this virus and in doing so save lives - lives of real North Carolinians who will get to celebrate many more holidays to come.

This statement has been submitted by:

Todd Davis, MD, MMM
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
​CaroMont Health

Niti S. Armistead, MD, FACP
Chief Medical Officer
Vidant Health and Affiliate Professor, Internal Medicine
Brody School of Medicine at Eastern Carolina University

Andrew Chesson, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Catawba Valley Health System

Chris DeRienzo, MD, MPP
SVP and Chief Medical Officer
WakeMed Health & Hospitals

Eric Eskioglu, MD
EVP and Chief Medical Officer
Novant Health

Mickey W. Foster, MHA
Chief Executive Officer
FirstHealth of the Carolinas

Anthony J. Frank, MD, MBA, CPE
Chief Medical Officer
Carolinas Healthcare System – Blue Ridge

William Hathaway, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Mission Health, HCA Healthcare NC Division

Teresa Herbert, MD, MPH, FAAP
Chief Medical Officer
AdventHealth Hendersonville

Russell M. Howerton, MD
SVP and Chief Medical Officer
Wake Forest Baptist Health

Shawn Howerton, MD
Chief Executive & Chief Medical Officer
Sampson Regional Medical Center

James Hunter, MD
SVP and Chief Medical Officer
Atrium Health

Danielle Mahaffey, MD, MMM
Chief Physician Executive
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System

Ronald May, MD, FAAP, CPE
Chief Medical Officer
CarolinaEast Health System

Joseph Mazzola, DO, CPE, MBA
Vice President of Medical Affairs
Iredell Health System

Rodney McCaskill, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Johnston Health

West Paul, MD
Chief Clinical Officer
New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Joseph Roberts, MD
Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Southeastern Health

Joseph G. Rogers, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Duke University Health System

Jonathan Snyder, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital

Dr. Bruce Swords, PhD
Chief Physician Executive
Cone Health