UNC Health reaches milestone of zero COVID patients for 36-hour span

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the first time in more than a year, UNC Health said they had zero patients in their COVID unit at the Medical Center in Chapel Hill.

It was just a 36-hour span this month but it was momentous considering what the unit looked like at the start of the year.

"From a mental health perspective, it's been much better," said Loc Culp, nurse manager of the medical intensive care unit in Chapel Hill.

Dr Ashley Henderson, a pulmonologist at UNC Health and associate professor of medicine, said she believes now people are just trying to come out of "an abyss."

Health care professionals are still seeing very sick COVID positive patients and ones that are sick enough to be in intensive care.

While the pandemic is still real, according Dr Henderson and Ms. Culp, the intensity of the virus isn't what it was.

"I think people can be more optimistic," said Dr. Henderson. "They shouldn't be scared anymore. We are still seeing people dying from COVID but fortunately it's much better and our numbers are much lower."

There are currently 80 COVID patients hospitalized across UNC Health, which is a far cry from the peak of 500.

A dozen of them are at the Medical Center in Chapel Hill.

Across Duke's health care system, there are 33 patients in the hospital. Back in January, it regularly had 200 across the three hospitals.

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.