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Cornelius News

Novant’s chief epidemiologist discusses Delta variant, vaccines

Dr. Priest gets the vaccine. Photo: Novant Health

Aug. 17. By Dave Yochum. Dr. David Priest, chief epidemiology officer at Novant Health, says the healthcare giant is gearing up to administer third doses of the coronavirus vaccine in a matter of days.

He said his mother, a cancer patient in another state, has already received her third dose.

During a media briefing this morning, he said the third dose is “especially helpful to older people” and those who are immunocompromised, including organ transplant patients.

Younger patients

Meanwhile, as hospitals approach capacity—albeit with more experience than a year ago—the age of COVID patents has dropped dramatically.

Novant Health reports that the average age of COVID patients who require a hospital stay has dropped to 49 years old from 61 earlier this year.

More details

+Novant ICUs are at 97 percent capacity for adults, similar to January

+91 percent of those admitted for COVID are not vaccinated.

+29 percent positivity rate in Wilmington

+More than 6,000 new NC cases some days last week

+The third/booster dose should be the same as the first two

+The hospital system likely can manage through high capacity

A pause for elective procedures?

That said, there could be a pause in elective surgeries to manage patient volume, Priest said.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” he said, explaining that the unvaccinated are “like kindling wood” in a forest fire.

Social media disaster

He blamed social media for the extent of misinformation around the pandemic, vaccinations in particular.

“If social media existed in 1955, I’m not sure we would have eradicated polio,” he said.