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Duke Health Readies For Onslaught Of COVID-19 Patients

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

State health officials say North Carolina's hospitals are trying to manage bed capacity as states like New York and California see a surge of patients with COVID-19. 

State health Director Dr. Betsy Tilson said she's heard from about 75% of the 130 hospitals in North Carolina. Tilson says about half of their inpatient beds are available, and less than 20 percent of their Intensive Care Unit beds are open.

WUNC analyzed average occupancy rates by hospital. Click here to search by hospital or city.

Dr. Joseph Rogers of Duke University Health System said while strict social distancing measures appear to be working well so far, they should stay in place for the foreseeable future.

"There's a strong likelihood that we are going to see a surge in cases, and it's likely to occur a couple weeks from now, and we can't be lulled into complacency because we're lagging behind some of the larger metropolitan areas in the country," he said.

Rogers said the latest data suggests Duke is prepared for that surge.  But people need to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.

"We have the advantage, I think, of being a little more rural state compared to some of the cities and states up in the northeast," he said. "So we believe that we will see a surge, but that we're likely to lag a little bit behind some of the large metropolitan areas in the United States."

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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