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

Atrium, Novant: Field Hospital No Longer Needed

hospital beds

Atrium and Novant health systems now say that a field hospital is not needed in Charlotte, as social distancing measures in Mecklenburg County have helped slow a projected surge of coronavirus patients.

In a letter sent to Mecklenburg County commissioner Dena Diorio, Atrium’s Eugene Woods and Novant’s Carl Armato said that “we are seeing a flattening of the curve, resulting in a continued declined in peak hospital census projections.”

Instead of cases doubling every 2.85 days, current trajectory now shows a doubling every six days. The two hospital leaders said in the joint letter that the county and state stay-at-home orders have had a direct impact.

“In short, it is clear they are beginning to work,” they wrote.

The two health systems also have worked to identify and reallocate space within their facilities to create beds they need to manage the expected surge of patients.

Atrium Health’s College of Health Sciences was just approved for patient care by the state on Friday, and has a capacity for 200 beds. Additionally, Atrium has identified additional capacity of up to 235 beds that can be active within 72 hours. Meanwhile, Novant Health has converted non-ICU units into ICU units, increasing its ICU beds by 197.

“As a result of our combined efforts, we believe we are now in position to meet the 600 medical beds needed that were previously requested in a field hospital, assuming the effects of social distancing trend continues the current trajectory,” Woods and Armato wrote in the joint letter.

Both noted that the trend could reverse if social distancing is “eased prematurely without supporting data.”

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.
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.