Cumberland County hiring more nurses to relieve current staff as COVID-19 cases, deaths rise

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Amid a busy summer with an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the Cumberland County health department is looking to bring 14 more nurses on board to provide some relief to their staff.

Tuesday, the Cumberland County Department of Public Health reported an additional 183 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths, bringing the total to 3,929 cases and 65 deaths.

In the last three weeks, 14 residents have died from complications associated with the virus, according to a news release.

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Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green told ABC11 the department is feeling the weight of the last few months.

"Death is a lagging indicator. So, by that we mean, we saw an increase in cases throughout July and the beginning of August, and we saw that curve really rise," Green said.

As a result, it's put a strain on their more than 70 nurses on staff, pushing them to put out a call for temporary nurses.

"None of our other clinical services have stopped during COVID, so we still provide immunizations and child health and family planning, in addition to all of our normal epidemiology functions," Green said.

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Green said adding 14 more licensed practical and registered nurses will allow them to continue those services while also filling the gap for contact tracing, the epidemiology clinic and ongoing testing.

"Our temp nurses are really allowing us to make sure that we're doing our COVID response efforts," Green said.

As the data currently shows, Green expects the numbers to improve over the next few weeks. "We know what can slow the spread. Do it. Wear your mask. Wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands," said Green.

The health department hopes to see their COVID-19 positive testing rate drop from eight to five percent.

For those interested in applying for the positions, you can call 910-433-3851.
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