When it became clear that COVID-19 would make its way to our country, state and region, Vidant Health began developing a response to protect eastern North Carolina.
Creating excess hospital capacity for the sick, developing masking strategies to slow the spread in our community and protect health care workers, and developing the testing capability to detect COVID-19 were at the forefront of those plans. We knew that testing would be the backbone of our community response, and I am proud of the innovation and collaboration that has allowed us to test up to 6,000 members of the community a day.
Our capacity to test, not only for COVID, but other viruses such as the flu, is instrumental in keeping our communities safe, improving our economy and mitigating the risks we face as we plan for the future. Having the capacity to broadly and frequently test protects all of us.
It is not just about how many tests we can do, but how easily we can make those tests available and how quickly we can get the result. Testing is widely available in our hospitals and clinics, and results are known within 24 hours. In addition, we have established a dedicated COVID-19 drive-up testing site at the corner of Stantonsburg Road and Wellness Drive. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the site offers quick, convenient testing and results are back in under 24 hours.
Testing is one way we respond but ongoing research is another. As an academic health system anchored by Vidant Medical Center and the Brody School of Medicine, we are proud to be involved in a COVID-19 research study alongside Wake Forest Baptist Health and Atrium Health. With this study, participants are helping us understand the virus and its effect. This research is critical in helping us unlock new information about the virus and we encourage community members to sign up.
We heavily invested in our COVID-19 response because we greatly care about those we serve. Living Vidant’s mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina means being there for our community members when it matters most. Vidant team members have stepped up and gone above and beyond to care for our community during these uncertain times. For that, I am grateful.
The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over but we know the behaviors that can help reduce the spread — wear a mask, social distance, wash hands often — and we have the testing capacity to understand the prevalence of the virus in our community.
We must all remain vigilant, as this virus is still in our community. It will take us all working together, but eastern North Carolina is made up of tight-knit communities. Together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.