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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Charlotte-Area Doctors Plead For People To Get Vaccinated As COVID Strains Hospital Resources

Leaders with the Charlotte area’s three largest hospital systems say their facilities are facing staff shortages and a strain on resources amid the surge in COVID-19 patients caused by the highly contagious delta variant and a low vaccination rate.

“Quite frankly, beds are scarce,” Dr. Sid Fletcher, senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Novant Health’s Presbyterian Medical Center, said during a news conference Thursday. Novant is based in Winston-Salem but has a large Charlotte presence.

Priest was joined by Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director of infection prevention at Charlotte-based Atrium Health and Dr. Todd Davis, a physician at CaroMont Health, which is based in Gastonia.

As of Wednesday, 933 patients were in the hospital with COVID-19 across the three hospital systems, including 126 people on life support, according to data presented at the Thursday news conference. 97% of patients on life support and 92% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

“We are at a dangerous point right now,” Passaretti said. “Please protect our health care systems and make sure you’re getting people vaccinated (and) encouraging people in public spaces to wear masks — especially in crowded situations.”

Statewide, North Carolina is poised to meet or surpass the record-high number of hospitalizations recorded during the winter surge of the coronavirus. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday reported 3,789 people were hospitalized. The winter surge level was roughly 3,990.

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.