Even with COVID-19 infection rates falling, the virus continues to wreak havoc, the chief of Vidant Health said on Tuesday.
Dr Michael Waldrum told local business leaders that eight people have died from COVID-19 at Vidant Medical Center since Sunday.
Addressing the October virtual lunch of the Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, Waldrum said five deaths were recorded on Sunday and three on Monday.
Waldrum said serious illness is still most common in people who haven’t received a vaccine. On October 13, the hospital recorded 112 inpatient admissions; 100 of these people were not vaccinated. Of the 39 people in the intensive care unit that day, none were vaccinated. Only one of the 24 people on ventilators had been vaccinated.
Illness and death among those vaccinated is possible, Waldrum said at the virtual meeting, as evidenced by the passing of former Secretary of State Colin Powell at 84. However, Waldrum addressed the extenuating circumstances that likely contributed to Powell’s death.
âThe people we see, who have what we call breakouts and infections, are people like Colin Powell, who basically had cancer in his immune system,â Waldrum said. “He was not able to develop a good immune response to the vaccine and, unfortunately, with his cancer and other problems, the virus was able to break through the protection that the vaccine offered him and he was unable to fight back. against that. “
âWe see part of that, but I would say the exceptionâ¦ as with Colin Powell actually proves the rule and not the other way around,â Waldrum said. âIt’s important that we use data to make this decision. “
Vidant has vaccinated 180,000 people so far, Waldrum said. On Monday, Vidant’s positive test rate was 5.9% positive, along with an average positive rate of 11.3% over the past seven days.
A meeting participant asked Waldrum if a healthy lifestyle is effective resistance to the vaccine.
“I have two nephews, one 35 and another 45, who refuse to be vaccinated,” she told Waldrum. âThey say that people who eat healthy and exercise don’t die from this virus, and that our focus should be on educating people to change the way they eat and exercise. exercise. Is there any legitimacy to this idea? “
Waldrum agreed that a healthy lifestyle is important in resisting any disease, but that is not a guarantee.
âWe have a number of people in these age categories dying from COVID,â Waldrum said. âMost importantly, our actions don’t concern ourselves. They concern others. If you get the virus, which is very contagious, you give it toâ¦ a family member who does not meet these age criteria.
“I would ask them ‘do you love your mother?’ I think the question is. We all have an obligation to protect our families. If they were my kids, they wouldn’t come to visit you without a negative test or that, âWaldrum said.
Such hesitation is always difficult to resolve, said Waldrum. Vidant himself had to make decisions with his employees on this matter. In August, the company announced that all employees would be required to be vaccinated.
As of October 1, 99.6 percent of executives and doctors reported being fully immunized. Other staff members have a deadline of December 1st. However, exemptions are in place.
âWe are able to set our own rules,â said Waldrum. âFor example, one of our rules is that we have a number of medical exemptions, religious exemptions and we have also chosen to allow people who have already been infected, who do not want to be vaccinated, to d ” be exempt from the mandate. We know that those who have been infected and vaccinated are the safest group. “
âThat number (of people infected) has increased a lot,â said Waldrum. âA lot of people who didn’t want to be vaccinated get their immunity if they survive the disease because they got the disease. We have granted these people, unlike most health care systems, an exemption. At the time we developed this policy, we thought natural immunity was highly protective, but we find it is. If someone just doesn’t want to get the shot, we don’t want to force them. They are protected by another means.