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"It is far from over." | Health officials warn to stay vigilant

The number of positive cases and hospitalization rates are going up and some doctors say it’s a sign too many people are letting their guards down.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The nurses and doctors who have been working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic for months already are starting to see another rise in coronavirus patients.

A warning from health officials: The Carolinas are not out of the woods yet. The number of positive cases and hospitalization rates are going up and some doctors say it’s a sign too many people are letting their guards down.

Many people have been getting a taste of "normal" as some restrictions are eased in the Carolinas but the fact of the matter is, coronavirus is still a global pandemic.

“We’d all love for this to be over, but it is far from over,” says Dr. Ryan Shelton with Tryon Medical Partners.

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Dr. Shelton says there was a lull at the beginning of May but that's quickly changed and every day is busy again. With the way the numbers are trending, he can tell people are not following all of the safety precautions.

“The lesson is we all still have to be vigilant. I'm really nervous about people getting too comfortable and too lax and letting our guards down because the numbers are still going to go up. As much as we don't want it to be, this is going to be with us for a long time,” he says.

The warning from medical officials, it is up to the greater public to help keep front line workers and each other safe.

“The virus really just doesn't care who the next host is, or what their cause is, or in what large gathering they are. Whether it’s a convention or protest, the virus just wants the next host. All of this really depends on what we do as humans,” says Dr. Shelton.

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Novant Health released this statement:

“Like healthcare systems in counties across our state, we are seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases. While a majority of cases continue to be mild, the number of inpatients at our hospitals has increased over the past couple of weeks. We’re well aware of the current environment, with a mix of protests and businesses reopening, and will continue to carefully monitor the modeling.

Novant Health has extensive surge planning in place and stands ready to activate, as needed. In fact, with investments and tireless efforts, we have been able to increase our bed capacity by 60% and have worked to reinforce our supply chain. We are carefully monitoring our capacity and, at this time, we have additional patient capacity.

At the same time, we call on our communities to doing everything they can to help us keep infection rates down. Masking, physical distancing and hand washing is as critical as ever and we urge everyone to educate themselves on how to keep themselves – and their neighbors - safe. This not only helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but ensures hospitals are able to conserve valuable resources like PPE and continue providing care to all who need it."