NHRMC Prepares For Large Coronavirus Patient Numbers

Mar 15, 2020

As of Sunday evening, there is one presumed case of the coronavirus in Brunswick County, and none so far in New Hanover.  Stores in the area report shortages of paper towels and toilet paper, as well as fresh meat and vegetables. Meanwhile, staff at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center have been busy preparing for the possibility of a flood of patients. 

Medical Center Chief Clinical Director West Paul says preparations began when word came out of China about the virus. He says NHRMC has the resources to handle a significant number of patients, should that be necessary.

“I think our resources are quite good. Worst case scenario, I'm not sure any hospital was prepared, but I think right now we're actually doing quite well.”

Dr. Paul adds that the medical center can turn entire floors into quarantine areas to treat patients, and there should be enough beds if needed.

“We can turn full floors of our hospital into a negative pressure area, which is quite remarkable to be able to do so we can handle quite a few patients there. The logistics are quite hard, with the type of patients with the protective equipment you have to wear. But that planning is already in place. If we're exceeding a hundred, 200, 400, planning with regards an ‘alternative care sites’ I think you've heard that term coming out of the federal government.”

An alternative care site would involve another hospital or medical clinic.

Vince Winkel, WHQR News.


New Hanover County Public Health Coronavirus Call Center: (910) 798-6800

New Hanover County Updates and Health Informationwww.Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus

New Hanover County info about closures and virtual options (this is also available on our Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus website in the tab “County Operations and Facility Updates”: https://news.nhcgov.com/news-releases/2020/03/new-hanover-county-shares-enhanced-guidance-to-reduce-risk-update-on-covid-19-planning/

Library resources (virtual and online reservation of books): NHCLibrary.org

Unemployment Helphttps://des.nc.gov/apply-unemployment/

Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services online: Epass.NC.gov, or call 910-798-3500 (that is our local Health and Human Services number)

Disaster Coalitionhttps://www.newhanoverdisastercoalition.org/

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 info:


Centers for Disease Control:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html