By Jon Evans | March 27, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT – Updated March 27 at 9:21 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Following the announcement of a statewide “stay at home” order, the chief physician executive for New Hanover Regional Medical Center says it’s a step in the right direction, but is encouraging the community to abide by its terms before it goes into effect Monday evening.
“Our behavior can change now,” Dr. Phil Brown said during an interview Friday afternoon. “That’s what we need to happen to really give our friends, neighbors and family the best chance of avoiding COVID-19, which carries with it a significant chance of death.”
Brown stressed it is not currently known if preventative measures, such as social distancing and handwashing, have been successful in limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus in New Hanover County and the surrounding area.
“A lot about predicting what the numbers will become, we’re going to have to wait and see,” Brown said. “What we can say definitively is, the less well people adhere to these requests for sanitation and physical spacing, the worse it’s going to be.”
Brown indicated COVID-19 case numbers will likely double in the weeks ahead, encouraging people to assume everyone they come into contact with is likely to be infected with COVID-19.
“Along with the doubling of the case numbers, we certainly know that there will undoubtedly be some deaths if those numbers continue on the trajectory that they are on,” Brown cautioned.
Brown also warned the hospital fully expects to reach and exceed its current capacity.
“We’re investigating very actively what alternative care specs might look like for us in this pandemic,” Brown said.
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