Hospital photo

The Western North Carolina Emergency Field Hospital opened on Jan. 7 and includes 30 beds in Lenoir. According to Samaritan’s Purse, the field hospital will specialize in respiratory care and help relieve the burden for five healthcare systems in the western NC region.

MONROE — Hospitalizations in North Carolina related to the coronavirus pandemic have been hovering around 4,000 over the past week, which is an increase of nearly 40% in the span of a month, according to a report from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

On Dec. 12, 2020, the number of virus-related hospitalizations in N.C. was 2,532; that number climbed as high as 3,964 on Jan. 6 and it stood at 3,940 as of Jan. 12, according to DHHS.

Union County Government reported earlier this week that a record-high 65 hospital beds in Union County are being used by COVID patients.

The outbreak in Union County, and the state in general, continues to trend in the wrong direction.

Health and Human Services measures each of the state’s 100 counties by the number of new COVID cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days; by that metric, Union County had 1,316 new cases per 100,000 residents as of Jan. 11. By comparison, Mecklenburg County is lower at 1,069 new cases per 100,000; of the N.C. counties that border Union, only Stanly County has a higher rate at 1,471. Cabarrus County is at 1,198 and Anson County is at 1,149.

Field hospitals are opening up to relieve health care facilities, including one in Lenoir, NC.

The COVID Tracking Project reports North Carolina has confirmed 653 new cases per 1 million people, which is higher than surrounding states South Carolina (331), Tennessee (509), Virginia (534) and Georgia (563). The worst states with the number of new cases per 1 million include West Virginia (1,170), Arizona (1,176), Arkansas (1,063), Connecticut (1,035) and Louisiana (1,012).