UPDATED: Outer Banks Hospital disputes federal report on weekly capacity, number of COVID patients

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A federal report earlier this week said all 17 beds at The Outer Banks Hospital were occupied the week before Christmas, and one in five hospitals across North Carolina were at least 90 percent full.

And none of the patients at The Outer Banks Hospital during the week of Dec. 18-24 were being treated for COVID-19.

But since this story was first published on Thursday morning, a hospital spokesperson says the report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, does not accurately reflect the full picture at the hospital in Nags Head and other Vidant Health operated facilities.

Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, one of the largest facilities in eastern North Carolina, also had no COVID-19 patients that week according to the report at HealthData.gov.

The Outer Banks Hospital was one of three facilities in North Carolina that were at 100 percent capacity last week the report said, along with Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington and Cone Memorial in Greensboro.

While reporting no patients were admitted for the coronavirus, 62 emergency room visits for COVID-19 were reported to the federal government by The Outer Banks Hospital the same week.

Wendy Kelly, marketing director for The Outer Banks Hospital, provided an updated statement Thursday evening regarding the reporting of COVID-19 cases and bed availability:

The Outer Banks Hospital has and continues to report its data to appropriate agencies, to include the week of Dec. 18-24, as requested by state and local officials. This fact was supported by Sec. Mandy Cohen during her Dec. 22 briefing with reporters.

It’s also important to note, the Outer Banks Hospital was caring for COVID patients during the week of Dec. 18-24 and currently has COVID patients in the hospital at this time. There are 178 hospitalizations related to COVID across the entire Vidant system as of Dec. 29, 2020.

In regards to capacity, The Outer Banks Hospital did have capacity the week of Dec. 18-24 and currently has capacity. We have been and continue to treat patients in the emergency department and as inpatients. Importantly, bed capacity is not the same as overall capacity. We have surge plans in place so we are able to continue caring for patients as needed.

In addition, The Outer Bank Hospital is part of a system of care with nine hospitals, including an academic medical center, and can transfer resources, staffing and patients where needed. We have the bed capacity, staffing, supplies and equipment we need at this time, and we continue to plan by accessing the collective expertise and resources from across our system. That includes building additional capacity and streamlining resources in order to meet the needs of the community we proudly serve.

With numbers continuing to increase across the state and here in eastern North Carolina, it is vitally important that the community help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing and avoiding gatherings.

A total of 316 COVID-19 patients were treated at Vidant-operated hospitals during the entire week, according to the DHHS report, including 96 at Vidant Duplin Hospital in Kenansville, 92 at Vidant Roanoke Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie, 80 at Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington and 46 at Vidant Chowan Hospital in Edenton.

The report also listed no coronavrius patients were at Vidant Bertie in Windsor and Vidant Edgecombe in Tarboro.

Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City reported a total of 194 patients were admitted with COVID-19 for the week, Martin General Hospital in Williamston 24 patients and Washington County Hospital in Plymouth 22 patients.

The same report listed capacity at Vidant Roanoke Chowan was at 98 percent, Vidant Beaufort 95 percent, Martin General 73 percent, Washington County 63 percent and Sentara Albemarle 59 percent.

Total hospitalizations in North Carolina for the coronavirus set a new record for a third day in a row on Tuesday, with 3,377.

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Sam Walker is news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3. Reach him at swalker3@jammediallc.com