BREAKING: Atrium wants field hospital

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Atrium CEO Gene Woods: Biggest coronavirus surge will be mid-April to mid-May and exceed hospital bed capacity

Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods told the Atrium Health board of directors on Thursday that the hospital system will be asking the county to establish a field hospital to accommodate the expected surge of coronavirus cases.

He said more details would be shared in the coming days and that he would like the field hospital to be up and running within weeks.

Woods said pinpointing the exact number of coronavirus cases is tough — like predicting a hurricane — but that the health system anticipates that it will run out of beds at local hospitals, even though Atrium has “opened up every single nook and cranny” to expand bed capacity by 50%.

The hospital system has also taken other measures to accommodate the anticipated number of patients, such as stepping up virtual doctors’ visits and remote monitoring of patients from their homes.

Woods said Atrium has been coordinating closely with state and local officials, and even with Novant Health.

He said “the best way to protect our community, our healthcare workers and preserve our supplies is to adhere to stay-at-home orders, not just some of the time, but all of the time.”

More details as they develop.

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Editor: Tony Mecia; Contributing editor: Tim Whitmire