Person Memorial experiences highest percentage of COVID-related hospitalizations in ABC11 viewing area

ROXBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Most hospitals are experiencing a rise in COVID-related ICU cases, but none in our viewing area is seeing a spike like at Person Memorial.

The rural hospital in Roxboro experienced an average of 89 percent of its ICU beds filled each day, according to the latest federal data.

ABC11 reached out to Person Memorial to speak about the climb in cases.

"The ways in which our team continues to navigate and respond to COVID-19 has been nothing short of extraordinary. I am so grateful for our providers, nurses, clinical staff and all of our hospital employees, who are on the front lines providing high-quality care for our patients. They show up day-in and day-out for our patients, protecting our entire community, and I am honored to work alongside these healthcare heroes," Person Memorial CEO David Ziolkowski said in a statement.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association said generally speaking, rural hospitals across the state went into the pandemic facing challenges.

"They definitely have the decks stacked against them from a financial perspective, from a capacity perspective, they're ability to attract talent," said Tatyana Kelly from NCHA.

Some rural hospitals haven't been able to survive.

A recent study out of UNC-Chapel Hill found 134 have closed nationwide since 2010 and last year, a record number of places shuttered their doors.

Researchers note that micro facilities are often located where folks are more likely to be experiencing poverty and have limited access to health care.

Kelly says rural hospitals can and do lean on larger facilities, but even that is becoming more of a problem.

"That system is obviously very stressed right now just because we're dealing with so many more folks seeking care than we normally do," Kelly said.

Person Memorial says it is using all appropriate regional resources as it works to handle the influx.
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